Raise The Candy Bar

Place your candy orders today to make it a sweet day! Call us at: 847-677-5777

Friday, August 27, 2010

Getting Ready for the Jewish New Year

The Life of a Candy Man is a cyclical life. I go from Holiday to Holiday helping my clients/customers either create a unique corporate gift for themselves or their company or at times simply coming up with cute hostess gifts in our store.

As the Jewish New Year approaches for many Jews this is a time of self introspection. For me and my staff it is a busy time. The Rabbi's work on their speeches and I / we (my staff) work on orders. For the last few years as the Holiday approaches the Rabbi is walking to Synagogue while I am rushing home to get ready myself ready for the Holiday (its hard not to let that last minute shopper or two in).

In the store we have created a chocolate bee hives, an assortment of  chocolate lollis that are seasonal as well as many gift baskets and boxes of chocolate ready for our customers to bring as hostess gifts as they go to Family and Friends.

Something new this yeas is a Chocolate Rams Head Lolli. Why you may ask? Sephardic Jews eat the head of a Ram to symbolize the animal with which was sacrificed by Abraham as a substitute for his son Isaac. Just as our customers have been easting the heads of chocolate fish which is a Rosh Hashanah symbol that we should be leaders and not followers. Yes an animal head of chocolate is much easier to stomach than the real thing.

It is a traditional that many people wish each other a sweet new year which is so similar to what I wish people on a regular day when I close many a conversation with Have a Sweet Day!

To which I say have a Sweet New Year as well as a Sweet Day!

PS -- promise the next post will not be a lesson in Judaism

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Chocolate Hebrew Alphabet and an Upsherin

No two days are alike in the life of a Candy Man. I am always gettin many different requests for life cycle events. This weeks life cycle request was for an Upsherin.  For the vast majority of the Jewish and Non Jewish population here is a definition of an Upsherin:
"A child's third birthday signals a major transition in his or her education. For the first three years of life, a child absorbs the surrounding sights and sounds and the parents' loving care. The child is a receiver, not yet ready to give. At the age of three, children's education takes a leap—they are now ready to produce and share their unique gifts.For a Jewish boy, this transition is marked with a ceremony. It is age-old custom to allow a boy's hair to grow untouched until he's three years old. On his third Jewish birthday, friends are invited to a hair cutting." Source Chabad.org
Our customer requested that we help with the hair cutting party by supplying a chocolate party favor. I spoke with her on the phone and we came up with the idea of doing a small Chocolate  Hebrew Letter for each child who attended. Additionally the customer wanted something unique for her son as some families have the custom that at the party the child has a sweet experience with the Hebrew Alphabet. We decided to create a Jumbo Chocolate Hebrew Alphabet Bar
 that her son could eat the letters off of.  We delivered the order last week and the customer was really happy with the uniqueness of it. I was happy that the project gave me the push that I needed to get a set of Hebrew Letters online.

So another week another unique chocolate creation and for those who are of other faiths we do those life  cycle events as well.

Have a sweet day!

Friday, August 20, 2010

A Day in the life of the Candy Man - The Candy Man Helps a Customer Say Happy Birthday

People on a regular basis call and say help I need a unique gift. Some time it is for a corporate gift such as a referral gift, holiday gift or even an I'm sorry gift. Then there are time when I get asked how about a unique gift for a life cycle event. Well that is what happened the other day.

One of our customer's called and said, "I need something unique and different for my husbands 30th birthday." She did not want a typical cake and needed something that she could take with to a dinner party that she was having for her husband at a restaurant.

After thinking I suggested that we make a milk chocolate candy box (yes the actual box is chocolate).

I then suggested that we fill it with a variety of milk and white chocolates (since she said that was what they liked) and then we personalize the top.

The customer loved the idea and you should have the seen the smile on her face when she picked up the gift for her husband. 

Have a sweet weekend.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Flight of the Chocolate Butterfly

On a regular basis we get asked to create something unique for a party by either a caterer or the person having the party.  Last week the request was a colorful one. A caterer was asked to do a party at The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum in Chicago. They are know for the their butterfly exhibit. (Been there cool place).

The caterer needed to enhance his sweet table in a unique way. The idea was to include chocolate butterflies, chocolate rocks gummi worms and flower power.

Photo of sweet table provided by Chicago Tailgators

Helping a party have the necessary sweet confections is all part of being the candy man.

This weeks party planner request ...the color red.

Have a sweet day!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Being Part of the Community

My wife and I believe that it is important to give back to the community. We actively give gift certificates to charities that request them, we partner with the Skokie Library, as well as LifesSource (by the way our 3rd Annual Blood Drive is Sunday December 12th) but one of the fun things that we do is work with the Skokie Park Distrcict.

Last night we sponsored the Magical Merry-Go-Round performance of Ken "The Flying Fool" Schultz perform a symphony of juggling, physical comedy, humor and improvisation at Norman Schack Park

Ken is a funny guy who is very creative his website is http://www.flyingfool.com/. What I love about these events for me is that I get an opportunity to get into the community with the Candy Van and give out our candy which of course is branded as well as some gift certificates to the store. The Park District is great they allow me to do an extended elevator speech and park the van next to the stage. 

Other than the heat it was a great event and the best of all it was free to the families to who attended. 

Have a sweet day!

Monday, August 9, 2010

No place like home... or what once was

At Illinois Nut & Candy we help our customer place orders for life cycle events such as baby's, birthday's, Bar and Bat Mitzvah  and Weddings.

Today I was helping a nice lady place an order for her Daughter's Bat Mitzvah. ( I digress but  her color theme was pink and I need to mention that we match candy and confections to a parties color)

As part of the order taking process I asked for her billing address for her credit card. She started to give me the number and I as I wrote it down I realized that I had lived in that house during part of my childhood. 

What a small world so after I asked a bunch of questions about how the house has stayed the same or changed I finished taking her order wished her a Mazel Tov and told her to have a sweet day.

The conversation made me think back to some happy times in the house I spent part of my youth in.

As I hung up the phone I had a smile of my face and was ready to help the next customer who did not live a house that I once lived in but down the block ... just kidding.

Friday, August 6, 2010

A Unique Anniversary Gift

Hello -

In addition to helping our customers create unique corporate gifts we do a lot of party favors, as well as gifts for special occasions.

Yesterday a lady called that her anniversary is today. Her husband loves fishing, his aquarium and chocolate.She asked how can we make a unique gift for her to give to him.

I said don't worry I have the perfect idea. I showed her our underwater selections as well as our chocolate rocks. I suggested that we create a box of chocolate with the rocks to simulate the gravel and then the fish to represent his aquarium. She loved the idea. So we created it  and here is the picture of the box that she is going to present to her hubby today.

How Sweet!

The candyman and his coolers

It’s hot in Chicago. Most people like the heat I prefer cool and cloudy much easier to transport chocolate. I left the store today with 2 coolers.

At each stop I was asked the question is there beer in there? I always respond sorry how about a chocolate instead. Sometimes I get a yes please other times I get a smile and sometimes I actually get a lead but that is a story for a different day.

The sales calls were for companies looking for corporate holiday gifts. What make our corporate holiday gifts unique is our ability to create chocolates in a variety of shapes that help our customer put their brand into chocolate.

We’ve done bugs, dogs paws, ATMs, and doorbells just to name a few. Today we talked to perspective clients about putting their logos into chocolate and onto boxtops.

I do have a sweet job!

Hello World

My name is David Levine, AKA the candyman my wife and I own a candy store Illinois Nut & Candy in Skokie a suburb of Chicago.  We have a web presence which is Raising The Candy Bar.

Is my life so interesting not sure but people always are asking what is new. I get many jokes about nuts and every variation that you can think of (but being this is a family friendly site use your imagination).
As a business we tweet, facebook, and have a YouTube channel.

My goal for this blog is to give creative ideas for corporate gifts, party favors, gluten free selections, sugar free selections just to name a few. Additionally I want to use this blog to also let our customers know what is new and what is happening in our store like today a customer locked his keys in his car I’d like to say I successfully used the hanger trick but when that did not work I knew who to call to have the door unlocked professionally.

Have a sweet day!