Raise The Candy Bar

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

Monday, December 26, 2011

Do you sell Penuche?

The other day a sweet older woman came into the store and asked me Do you sell Penuche?

I looked at her and answered what is it?

She went onto to tell me that her husband who was 85 had cancer and was not allowed to eat chocolate anymore and all he wanted for Christmas was some Penuche which is a form of butterscotch fudge.

OK I am a softy -- we have never made it and we rarely make fudge at all but this sweet older woman who was trying to make her sick husband happy got to me.

So after doing some research and making a few phone calls we made a small batch of Penuche for her to give to her husband as a Christmas gift. Unfortunately the batch did not have the exact consistency but it tasted great and with a holiday appropriate bow it looked nice too

All part of living the life of the candy man.

Have a sweet day!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

What a creative Chanukah Idea

Living the life of the candyman is sweet.

I get to help people with all kinds of unique projects from ginger bread house themed birthday parties and weddings to teachers who need themed candy for a lesson.  Two days ago we sold a teacher candy blox for a class project.

But the coolest thing I have seen in recent months is a project that a student did this week.

On Sunday a Mom and daughter came in with an idea for a school project to build a Candy Chanukah Menorah or Hanukkah Candelabra.

The young lady had the greatest idea to make it out of Pez (sorry I don't sell it online), so I asked the Mom if it was OK to feature it on my blog the Mom said yes and sent me the following pictures to post.

Great job Dafna

Happy and Sweet early Hanukkah, Christmas and Kwanzaa.

PS -- if you create a cool project using candy / confections from the store I'd be happy to post it too.

Have a sweet day!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

NBC Channel 5 Sunday 6 AM News

Yes it was dark and rainy this past Sunday morning, but the Candyman was able to sweeten up a local  TV news segment. How and Why you may be asking yourself.

Well for the last couple of years we have been participating the World of Chocolate Event that benefits AIDS research.  The first year we we brought with a lot of chocolate that people enjoyed but I realized that many other vendors had themes so last year we had a them Chanukah and Christmas and then at the last minute the Governor announced the legalization of same sex marriages so we brought with our LGBT molds.

As the date was nearing for the World of Chocolate event their PR firm sent out an inquiry looking for unique ways to get media coverage. I offered a chocolate NBC peacock. The PR firm did their magic and next thing you know I was on TV along with my trusty helper my son.

Click to watch video

The culmination of the week was the World of Chocolate Event. where we brought out the Emerald City along a few characters from Oz.

What will we do next year?

Not sure yet but I have a few idea.

Have a sweet day!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Time to be Thankful

Being the Candy Man is sweet, but at times you need to take a step back and be thankful too.

This past year we have had some great things happen to the business from . From the additions of some exciting products to an opportunity to be on a cable reality show but now is the time to take a step back and be thankful and count our blessings.

So once again we have teamed up with LifeSource and are sponsoring our Fourth Annual blood drive on Sunday December 11th, between 10:30am & 4:30pm, in the LifeSource Coach, which will be in our parking lot at 3745 W Dempster in Skokie.  Sweet treats and coupons will be available on the coach for all who are being so generous.

You can give the gift of life by donating less than an hour of your time and some blood. In return you get the following...
-1- You feel good that you helped someone (usually within 5 days)
-2- Various health benefits
    a)Free Mini Physical (blood pressure, iron and pulse tested)
    b)Free Cholesterol reading
-3- Illinois Nut & Candy cookies and confections in the LifeSource Coach
-4- 10% off all purchases through the end of the year
-5- A FREE bag of popcorn to take with you on the road

Donations are down once again this year.  I promised that I could get 50 people to give blood. I already have 2, and am asking you as part of my network of contacts to help me keep my word.

If all that doesn't convince you, maybe this will.  This year we were given a football signed by Chicago Bears safety Major Wright. One lucky person who successfully donates blood will have their name drawn for a chance to win the signed football.  Your chances for winning are 1 in 50 or better!

Please RSVP by calling 847-677-5777 with a time that is convenient for you between 10:30am & 4:30pm

Also for those who are not able to attend  you can always go to a local LifeSource location and give them the code 146B that is the same as if you were on the bus. If you need to find a location near you click this link to find a location near you. 

Have a sweet day and Happy Thanksgiving. 

Happy and Sweet Holidays to you and yours!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween Treats with no Tricks

Everyone knows that I always have candy in my van so when people ask for a sample I am ready to go. For the newer readers here is what I drive

About a year and a half ago Fox Business dubbed me the Kosher Willy Wonka (click to see video).  As a result, I decided for Halloween to go out and purchase a Willy Wonka costume.

Now you are probably wondering where is he going with this entry...

After Halloween last year, my wife had a great idea that I should drive around in the candy van dressed as Willy Wonka and do a "reverse trick or treat."

I thought it was a great idea so a few weeks ago I called our local Police Department and spoke with Officer Friendly who recommend that I contact the Skokie Park District since.  Naturally they did not want kids getting in the habit of taking candy from strangers.

That brings me to what I am doing today -- in conjunction with the Park District early education program I am visiting 4 of their schools, and with a little help from Gimbal's who provided me with Nut Free / Gluten Free / Egg Free / Lactose and Casein Free  (but not taste free) samples, I am stopping at these schools and delivering allergy free treats.

It was a lot of fun. .

So, whether or not you celebrate Halloween, it is quite a treat to see the smiles on the kids faces, (except for the one who was afraid of Willy Wonka and cried, I am sorry to report.)

And yes, several people did the stop the van as I drove around today and said "Trick or Treat."

Have a sweet day!

Monday, October 17, 2011

It's the Jewish Holiday Season

I have written it before in this blog that Illinois Nut & Candy is an extremely seasonal business.  Fortunately, we have been busy the last few weeks during the Jewish Holiday's of Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year), Yom Kippur and where we are now were in the middle of Sukkoth (Sukkot).

Sukkot hearkens back to times in ancient Israel when Jews would build huts near the edges of their fields during the harvest season. These dwellings called a "sukkah" (or "sukkot" plural) not only provided shade, but allowed the workers to maximize the amount of time they spent in the fields, harvesting their food more quickly as a result.  Click to learn more about the origins of Sukkot.
So rather than bore you I thought I would show you some of the interesting items that we offer during this season.

Clockwise from Top Left: Chocolate Apple filled w. Honey Candy, Chocolate Bee Hive, Chocolate Rams Head,
Mini Chocolate Sukkah, Chocolate Sukkah, Mini Chocolate Shofars.
Have a Sweet Day, and a Happy New Year!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Emerald City in Chocolate

As the "Candy Man" I receive several odd and challenging requests.  Sometimes these requests area a wake-walk, and other times they can push my staff and I to really get creative.

A few weeks ago I was approached by a bride who asked me to help make her wedding a little bit more unique.  Her request was to create the Emerald City in chocolate.

Yes, that is right, a chocolate rendition of Emerald City.  Her wedding had a theme, which as you may have guessed was the Wizard of Oz. . . . and part of her 'dream' was to have a themed sweets table.

Naturally I was willing to help, as I view all special requests as an opportunity for Illinois Nut & Candy really shine.  But the ante was raised when I found out that her wedding would be filmed as part of a taping for a reality show.  [At this time I am contractually obligated to keep the name of the show a secret, but you may rest assured that details are soon to follow.] Follow us on Facebook.

In the meantime, under the pressure of time constraint my staff and I worked with the bride to make her dream a reality.

I'll let you be the judge to decide if what we modeled is a close enough replica of the Emerald City after a  scene from the movie.  Click photo to enlarge image for viewing.

Did we capture the essence?
We were able to build out the entire Emrald City-themed sweet table in chocolate except for the chocolate lollipop stand and the ceramic figurines.  The table was a 5' wide semi-circle or 'half moon,' and 2.5' deep across at he arc.

The "Life of the Candy Man" sure is sweet.

Have a sweet day!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Anchors Away

Besides for being a local candy store where everyone is a kid at least for a few minutes we work with many corporate accounts as well as party planners to brand their corporate gifts or to help a party planner enhance their events.

We helped two new corporate clients last week.

The first corporate client we worked with was for a grand opening. We are creating custom branded truffles for their event. (sorry can't show these they are at the mold maker right now plus I signed an NDA)

For the second corporate account we are going to be creating Halloween Gifts. Yes Halloween is not for about 6 weeks but it never hurts to plan ahead. The client plans on trick or treating except she plans on bringing the treats. She is going to use a variety of our Halloween themed chocolate confections.

This brings me to the title of the blog Anchors Away.  Some of the more creative work we do is for party planners. We help them create the ultimate party favor or sweet table.  Last week we helped a party planner with a Bat Mitzvah on a Yacht.

So with chocolate anchors and personalized life preservers one young lady had very sweet party favors.

The life of the candy man is sure sweet!

Have a sweet day!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

34" Pucker Powder

Hello -- 
This weeks blog is a funny story of what happened in the store last week. I promise I could not make this up. 

On Tuesday last week two young boys if I had to guess about 9 or 10 came in the store. One of the boys asked my staff how much a 34" Pucker Powder was. 

For those of you that do not know Pucker Powder is a fun machine that allows a person to create his or her own candy tube filled with colored flavored sugar. The sizes are 6" (what most people buy), 12", 18" and the super large 34" (the one that usually grandparent will buy for their grand kids. )

But I digressed -- my staff answered and the boy said OK and proceeded to make a 34" tube (shown above).

Here is where the story gets funny 
The boy came to the counter to pay and took out of his pocket a $10 Hong Kong bill. When my staff informed him that we only take U.S. currency he demanded to speak to the manager. 

I was called from the back and this little boy proceeded to tell me that my employee refused to take his money.

I smiled at him (already having been told the story) and politely told him that we only accept U.S. currency being I did not know the exchange rate. The boy then pulled out of his wallet a Walmart gift card and asked to pay with it. I again smiled and explained that I was not Walmart.

I let the boy know that if he did not have enough U.S. money (which he only had $1.92) I would save his tube and he could come back later.

He said OK turned around and left the store I wished him a sweet day.

He never came back.

Oh well.

The life of the candy man is sweet unless you get stuck with a 34" tube of Pucker Powder filled with sweet and sour sugar it is both  sweet and sour.

Have a sweet day! 

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Blue Bear Pink Bear is that what I see?

Living the life of the Candy man is sweet, I get to help people enhance their life cycle events.

One of the most common requests that we get is for baby boy and girl themed items.

We try to bring lots of blue and pink candies into the store.

Well now we have found the ultimate blue and pink items

Pink and blue  gummi bears each sold individually!

What else is there to say.

Have a sweet day.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Butter Popcorn

The summer months are much slower as I have written in the past and so not to bore you all I don't write unless something interesting happens in the store.

Well last week other than signing on a new corporate account we had a very interesting request.

The story goes list this... 

I got a call  from a person who wanted to order a lot of butter popcorn.


I  asked him how much and the response was garbage bags filled.I have to be honest, being I know the person my curiosity got the best of me and I asked why he needed that much popcorn I thought perhaps he was having a party.

But the response was he was using it as part of his next photo shoot as a prop.

So as always we are always glad to oblige and here is one of the photos.

Have a sweet day!


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Sugar Free and Natural

Hello readers

I have not been writing as much over the last few weeks because I have not had much to write about.
During the summer the store is relatively quiet.  The staff takes this time to recover from the previous holidays organize the back and send out camp packages.

But I have some exciting news.

In the last blog entry I wrote about the first new products that came in from the candy show and now I and happy to introduce the next product  that people have been asking for.

OK not exciting to most but in our effort to be the go to store for niche candies we listen to what our customers want. A common request we have had over the last few years has been a natural sugar free candy. This request has come up most from mom's with children with autism.

I am not a medical expert or a nutritionist but from what I have been told is that people with autism should be on a low sugar natural diet.

We worked with Eda's one of our Sugar Free Vendors and had them make a special run on natural sugar free candy. You may be asking how can sugar free candy be natural the answer is in the ingredients which are
Sorbitol, Gum Arabic, Citirc Acid, Peppermint oil natural flavor. Sorbitol is the alcohol form of sucrose. It occurs naturally in fruits and vegetables, and is manufactured from corn syrup.

 So the life of the candyman is sweet sometimes just sugar free

Have a sweet day!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The First of Several New Products From the Recent Candy Show

A few weeks ago I wrote how I went to the Candy Show. I walked 20 plus isles of candy that had to be sampled. Such a tough job but someone has to do it.

But in all seriousness I walked the show with a mission to find natural and or organic candies. I must confess I did this for  two reasons. The first is selfish, my son has an allergy to food coloring and it must be brutal to be the kid of the candy man and not be able to indulge in all of the candy in the store.

The second and equally important reason is that I have customers who request these products.

I am pleased to announce that we are now officially carrying

Natural 30 Flavor Jelly Beans

I am happy to say that these jelly beans are just as good as their counterparts with the artificial colors and flavors.

The life of the candy man is sweet, have a sweet day I know my son will today!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Candy for All

This post may upset some of my readers but part of our mission has been to be inclusive whether it be in having a large variety of candies regardless of your allergy and/or dietary choice such as casein free or sugar free or whether you need a Chocolate Menorah or a Santa Claus.

My wife and I made the decision that we should be inclusive not just on the food front but on all fronts. You are probably wondering what is the Candy Man talking about?

Well back in December the Governor said that starting June 1, 2011 Civil Unions would be legal in the State of Illinois. I am happy to say we were ahead of the curve in that we were the first candy company to the best of my knowledge to offer LGBT friendly chocolate wedding cake toppers and  as well as LGBT friendly pretzel toppers as party favors too!

Well about a month and a half ago the Cook County Clerk's Office contacted me at the store and asked if we would be interested in participating in a Party at the Dailey Center for the first group of couples to get there Civil Union licenses I jumped at the opportunity and last Wednesday I was in Downtown Chicago bright and early.

So if you  know of anyone who is going to have a commitment ceremony or a traditional wedding please remember that we offer a wide variety of party favors and custom chocolates.

 Sweeten up peoples lives is all part of living the Life of the Candy Man.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Candy Show

A Day in the Life of the Candy with King Chocolate or maybe the Chocolate G-d not sure he did not talk.

This week is the candy show I am very lucky the show is in Chicago so I don't have to travel to a far off location just to McCormick place. I normally go the first and last day of the show which is why I am writing today.

For those who are wondering the show is actually a lot of work. Yes I ate my way through 22 aisles of candy, confections, and snacks. Some were potential products for the store while others where just yummy treats. Thank you to Mars for the awesome Ice Cream sandwich lunch much appreciated.

For me the most important part of the show is touching base with my current suppliers who in many cases I only see once a year.  This face time allows me to let them know what works and what we would like to see. Additionally it allows me to tell some of the managers how great their customer service staff is. In one case the manager actually pulled out his blackberry and shot off an email thanking the staff person.

This year I found many new products that will grace the pages of this blog for the weeks to come some of the products will even make Mom's happy too!

Stay tuned as I plan on using the blog as a means to release the news about the new products in the store. 
Have a sweet day!


Sunday, May 15, 2011

Play Ball

As the Summer rolls around Illinois Nut & Candy goes through a transition, from very busy and chaotic to a more normal regular stream of customers.  While my staff prefers slow & steady, I think I prefer insanity.

The question has always been how to get both the retail store and the online store to be busier during the summer. If you have any ideas please shoot me an email, I would love to hear your thoughts.

However I digress, this summer we are trying a new idea; we are giving away FREE tickets to two professional team sports. Not the Bulls and not the White Sox, but close. We have partnered with the Chicago Sky and the Chicago Bandits to offer our blog readers and shoppers a fun family activity at no cost to them.  Here is the only catch, the events are in the Chicago area so I must sincerely apologize to my out of town followers. (unless your travel plans include dates that are on game days)

Here is how you can enter to win:
(Enter as often as you like, as many ways as you like.)
  1. Come in the store and drop a business card, which will opt you into our monthly e-mail list
  2. Join our monthly e-mail list by clicking on the "Join My List" link on our Facebook page.
  3. Comment on this blog post
  4. Like any posts on our Facebook page which mention the Chicago Sky or Chicago Bandits
  5. Retweet one of the following posts on your Twitter:
  • @illinoisnut will #Giveaway 100 tickets to ChicagoSky and ChicagoBandits games this summer http://bit.ly/j0ykNk @NPFBandits @wnbachicagosky
  • #Enter to win tickets all summer long to see #ChicagoSky basketball games from @illinoisnut http://bit.ly/j0ykNk #giveaway @wnbachicagosky
  • #Enter to win tickets all summer long to see #ChicagoBandits baseball games from @illinoisnut http://bit.ly/j0ykNk #giveaway @NPFBandits
    Click on either team's logo above to view their 2011 summer season schedules.

    Have a Sweet Day!


    Monday, May 2, 2011

    Our first Blog Contest!

    As the candy man I learn something new everyday. For example a few weeks ago I learned that DeMets Candy Company has a trademark on a candy called Turtles. The candy caramel cluster has always been referred to generically as a turtle much like kleenex is for tissues.

    Anyway a few weeks ago I received an certified letter from an attorney who work for DeMets, the letter informed me that we were in trademark violation.

    Oops! I called him and let him know it was unintentional and that we were changing the name to Caramel Clusters. He was satisfied and all is good on the legal front.

    But that brings me to our first Blog Contest.

    Caramel Clusters are not the most exciting name though legal. We need a new name for our Caramel Clusters. So help us come up with a clever creative name for our Caramel Clusters we offer them in milk, semi sweet and on occasion by special order white chocolate. We also offer our caramel clusters in peanut, pecan, cashew and almonds.

    The winning entry will receive one pound of Caramel Clusters (aka its new award winning name) a month for the next year.

    The names you supply can not be copyrighted or trademarked by any other company. All entries should be submitted via email to lifeofthecandyman@gmail.com. By submitting an entry you are allowing Illinois Nut and Candy / www.RaisingTheCandyBar.com to use the name henceforth forward waiving all rights to the names submitted. Multiple entries per person are allowed. All decisions by the judging committee are final. If a new name is not found the judging committee has the right to extend the contest and or not pick a new name at that time. The contest is open only to legal residents of the United State that are over the age of 18. Employees and family member of employees are eligible to enter the contest. The contest deadline is July 1, 2011 at midnight. The winner of the contest will be notified by email that he/she has won.

    Good luck to all of the entries.

    Have a sweet day!

    Sunday, April 10, 2011

    Passover and Easter are Right Around the Corner

    To all my readers, I apologize for the length between blogs.  The store has been quite busy since the Holiday of Purim and we are gearing up for the next two holidays: Passover and Easter.

    Every year we try to add something new to our holiday selections. This year we have added several new items to our Passover and Easter selections.

    For Passover we have added two new items. First is a new twist on a relatively new item; our Semi-Sweet Coffee Bark which is Casein Free and Lactose Free. We take our rich semi-sweet chocolate and mix it with freshly ground coffee to create a mouth watering confection made Kosher for Passover.

    Second, a Chocolate 4 Sons Lollipop. A complete set of each of the four sons from the simple one to the wicked one. A creative way to sweeten up your Passover while drawing attention to a central theme in the traditional Seder.

    For Easter we have added a Large and a Jumbo Chocolate Easter Egg. What makes our selections for Easter unique is that they are Lactose and Casein Free as well as gluten friendly.

    Please Take Note:

    Illinois Nut & Candy will be closing for the holiday of Passover on April 18th at 5 pm for one week until April 27th, when we will re-open.

    All non Passover orders must, for religious reasons, be shipped by 9:00 AM on April 18th. Any order received after 9:00am will not be shipped until after Passover.

    Also I won't be blogging again until the first week of  May taking a short hiatus for the holidays.

    Have a sweet Holiday Season!

    David AKA the Candy Man

    Friday, March 25, 2011

    Another Sweet Holiday Season.

    As many of you know the Jewish Holiday of Purim was last week. For us it a busy stressful time of year. We send out hundreds of gift of which each is unique.

    This year instead of picking them we helped our clients personalize their own themes in a chocolate and unique candies that we brought in special for the holiday.

    This weeks blog (sorry missed a few) is going to highlight some of our creative customers Shalach manos or Purim Gifts. If your theme was not featured please don't take it personal I was not able to take pictures of everyone.

    Liquor Theme:


    Old Fashion Diner:

     Also used for the the Frank Family
      Also used for the the Burger Family

    What is your theme going to be next year? Never to early to start planning.

    Have a sweet day!