Since owners Barb and Ken Marquardt posted a notice on the door of their shop that Sweet Delights Candy Store would be closing permanently, they’ve sold candy at a rate that would have kept the shop in business.
It’s a bittersweet irony that’s not lost on Barb Marquardt, though she is only grateful for the shop’s eight-year run.
The Sweet Delights Candy Store on the corner of Hampshire Road and Oak Bay Avenue will close its doors for the last time on Friday (Feb. 21).
The ‘thank yous’ have been plentiful. The store has seen a steady stream of customers sharing their praise and non-customers who appreciated the effort of a small business on Oak Bay Avenue.
“We loved what we did and we’re happy to end on a high note,” Marquardt said. “My husband is 65. He’s been working since he was nine years old. It’s been a joy.”
After eight years in Oak Bay, Barb Marquardt is opening the doors to the Sweet Delights Candy Store for the last time on Friday.— Oak Bay News (@OakBayNews) February 19, 2020
"We sold out of all our candy, we only have store items left and what we don't sell we will move at the Feb. 29 Oak Bay Rummage sale." pic.twitter.com/AhiJ846wJ2
“There’s nothing left,” Marquardt said. “We never even put the candy on sale. People just showed up and bought it all, stocking up on their favourites.”
Everything in the store is for sale. On Tuesday a man purchased the security mirror for $10. The racks, the wall hangers and display cases are also for sale. What doesn’t sell by Friday will likely show up at the Giant Rummage Sale in Monterey Recreation Centre on Feb. 29, Marquardt said.
The idea started 12 years ago when the Marquardts relocated to Victoria from Alberta. At the end of their daughter’s first school year they wanted to continue a tradition of purchasing a candy bouquet that all the teachers at the school could share.
They searched, but found no one in Greater Victoria who knew what a candy bouquet was, let alone how to make them. So they found a candy bouquet-making franchise online and started making candy bouquets in their basement. It was successful enough they started a kiosk in Hillside shopping centre.
“Slowly, we started adding nostalgic candy brands that we remembered, and people liked it,” Marquardt said.
After three years as a mall kiosk it was successful enough they gambled on a storefront.
“We wanted a space big enough and accessible enough that anyone with a wheelchair or mobility issues [could stop by],” Marquardt said. “Some of the candies people are coming for are selling for 25 cents each and we’re making five cents on that. That’s why you see candy stores that are packed with a lot of [inventory] in a small space.”
In Oak Bay, vegan candy became one of their staples.
“Vegan and gluten free,” Marquardt said. “We did the work to make sure we had safe products for people who suffer allergies, and because of it we had regulars.”
The only candy left in the store are hard-shell penny candies flavoured with cinnamon and ouzo, though there is still a collection of vintage Pez dispensers. There’s also the store sign which served as a gentle reminder to parents to keep an eye on their kids in the candy store.
“This sign, seriously [pictured],” Marquardt said. “So many people asked me about it when we were open. We had offers on it. I said it’s not for sale.”
Thinking it was in demand, Marquardt stuck a $20 price tag on it but, as of Tuesday afternoon, no one had taken it home. Friday is the last chance.
The Sweet Delights Candy Store is in suite 113 at 2187 Oak Bay Ave. until Friday.