Raise The Candy Bar

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

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Gift of Life

As I have mentioned My wife and I feel that it is important to give back to community.  We  have done this in numerous ways mostly by giving gift certificates to the local library, charities and schools. But the one project that we have been working on,  now going onto our Third year is our annual Life Source Blood Drive. This year's  drive is scheduled for Sunday December 12, 2010.

How does candy / chocolate and blood mix? It doesn't really but here are a few ways using my creativity...

chocolate makes you feel good

                        ---- giving the gift of life makes you feel good

showing your appreciation through a gift box makes the recipient feel good

                        ---- receiving the gift of life makes you feel good

Each year the blood drive has grown. Our first year we collected about 22 pints of blood, last year we collected 29 pints of blood. These numbers do not include the number of people who came and were not eligible to donate or those who had prior commitments on that day so they gave a different day.

This year I a happy to announce that Jennifer Naida the 2010 Mrs. Illinois International will be at our
 blood drive helping recruit donors.  Jennifer's personal platform is Help and Hope: The Vasculitis Foundation, as well as the International Pageant’s national platform, Go Red for Women for the American Heart Association.  Additionally, Jennifer is the founder/support group leader of the Northern Illinois Vasculitis Foundation Chapter.

So over the next few months I will periodically blog about the blood drive. How can you help me?

-1- Spread the word everyone who comes to my store on Sunday December 12th will get FREE treats. Besides for helping to do a good thing it is a great networking opportunity.

-2- Volunteer to donate. The first 10 people who sign up and show up will get a special gift.

Thank you for your support and helping me live the Life of the Candy Man.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Taffy Apple

Living the Life of the Candy Man one observes many trends. Such as the current in color, the current in flavors. But one thing that is constant is that during this time of year apples are very popular for a variety of reasons.

Whether it be for the Jewish New Year Rosh Hashanah with the dipping of an apple in honey, families going apple picking  (which I have happy memories of as a kid ), or people bobbing for apples (do people still do that or am dating myself?) Apples are an integral part of the fall.

My wife recently bought a book for our kids about apples I learned more facts about apples that I ever wanted to learn. I was surprised that the book did not discuss the taffy apple. But what it did was give me the idea for this entry. 

We can thank the Brits for this awesome creation at the end of the 19th century.  Over the next 200 years or so a variety of people and companies made taffy apples too. In addition to the many companies making taffy apples so did the previous owners of Illinois Nut & Candy. They  made 4 basic apples, the classic, the half dipped sprinkle with a variety of sprinkle colors (which we turned into a full dip), the traditional New York Style candy apple and the fudge apple.

As we grew the business and developed new recipes the number of taffy apples continued to grow. Some of the apples were because of customer requests like the Chocolate Taffy Apple with Caramel and Buttered Popcorn Jelly Beans. Not my favorite but it made someone happy.

Others were from our staff experimenting with new flavors and textures. Regardless, everyone has their favorite taffy apple mine is pretty boring the simple classic apple.

But for those who like to be adventurous we have over 25 varieties of apples which now include a yes if you can believe it Sugar Free Taffy Apple option too!

So since a picture is worth a 1000 words...

 ... please enjoy the sweet site of the following and feel free to indulge by order one online. Use the promo code lotcmapple and get 25% off of your next order.

Have a sweet day! 

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Fifty Golden Years

The Life of the Candy Man is sweet. You see many memorable milestones from Baby Showers to Birthdays Religious life cycle events and then the Golden Anniversary.

About a week ago a nice women called the store asking if we could help with her party favors for her 50th Anniversary Party. I told her we could and suggested that she come to the store so we could talk further and let her pick something that really made her happy. Her fear was that the store was not wheel chair accessible.   I assured her that the store was and we scheduled an appointment for later that day.

About 2 hrs later she and her husband showed up. After we talked we decided to do a custom four piece candy box in gold with a gold hot stamp on top.

We then selected the chocolates to place inside.  As planned her husband picked up the chocolates the other day. He was thrilled with the way the boxes looked.

So whether we are doing unique corporate gifts, party favors, or helping people with matching a color to a party the Life of the Candy Many is really sweet.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Six Years and Counting

Part of Happy Occasion Lolli Series

People often ask how did I become the Candy Man. Let me tell you this was not what I had planned on when I was growing up. I rode the dot com wave only to be unemployed and then I worked in a municipal government position prior to owning Illinois Nut Outlet with my wife which we renamed to be Illinois Nut and Candy.

The life of a candy man is at times truly sweet but it takes a lot of blood, sweat and tears. So here are some examples of the blood sweat and tears that I have shed.

Blood -- When I thought about blood the first thought that came to mind was the red chocolates that symbolized blood in the chocolate ten plagues. The plagues are very poplar Passover confection, but then I realized that I had really bleed. Being we make our own confections we have numerous pieces of equipment. As a owner I have two choices pay to have them fixed when they break or repair them myself. As every mechanic will tell you you need the right tools. Unfortunately I do not always have the correct tools the end result is a cut so yes I have bleed for the business.

Sweat -- As a small business owner you wear many hats; custodian, chocolatier, stock boy, sales person, HR you get the idea. Well all of the those jobs can make you sweat but the one that truly causes one to get a workout is unloading a truck . Can't decide which causes you to sweat more unloading  a truck in the heat or unloading a truck in sub zero temps -- yes you can sweat even when the thermometer reads below zero.

Tears -- Sometimes this job makes you laugh so hard you cry and other times you simply cry. This past year I admit I sat at my desk and cried numerous times. It all goes back to a little boy named Carter who we donated over 8000 gumballs to. Carter was dieing and his dream was to have it rain gumballs. We made this dream come true. As a result I followed his Dad's blog for the better part of a year and a bit until unfortunately Carter passed away. The day that I read his eulogy I cried.

So as I/We celebrate our 6th year in Business and my 6th year living the Life of the Candy Man I know I will bleed this year because something will break, I will sweat because we will get deliveries, and I hope the reason I cry is because I am laughing so hard.

Have a sweet day!