All City Candy celebrates three happy years of sweet treats, community events

"Nice matters" at All City Candy, whether simply greeting customers at the door or creating treat-filled gift baskets for corporate events, owner Elisabeth Sapell says.
 
Kindness as a core value has served the Richmond Heights candy store well over the past three years, during which it's offered up 4,000 tasty items from 100 manufacturers and distributors. All City Candy has grown 25 percent annually since October 2013, when Sapell first opened her colorful, candy-scented 6,000-square-foot space at 746 Richmond Road.
 
Sapell points to the store's atmosphere of joy and nostalgia that keeps sweet-toothed consumers coming back. Wide aisles provide bulging bins of hard-shelled chocolates and jelly beans customers can mix and match themselves, while nearby racks overflow with familiar brands and an assortment of retro taste treats.
 
"We're trying to inspire fun and happiness," says Sapell. "It's like a little wonderland here."
 
All City Candy expanded its line to include the Pretzelicious brand of gourmet chocolate pretzels, which are packaged with chocolate-dipped Oreos and other goodies for corporate getaways. Over the last 12 months, the has store sent upwards of 1,000 treat baskets to its business clients. Weddings, bar and bat mitzvahs and birthday parties get bulk orders, too, resulting in steady growth for the megastore.
 
An October 23 third anniversary celebration reflected the fun-loving attitude that's brought All City Candy such success, its owner says. About a thousand visitors enjoyed games and giveaways throughout the day, along with a Halloween-themed candy buffet and chocolate pretzel dipping display. 
 
Community and charity events are another piece of Sapell's business model. In recent months, the store hosted a party pairing wines with different candies. All City Candy also supplied sweet snacks to young patients at University Hospitals during the holiday season.
 
"Our mission is to inspire people to be creative, kind and giving," says Sapell. "What did we do today to make someone happy?"
 
Sapell is glad to bring fun to the retail experience, a state of beings she recalls from working in the family grocery store, Sapell's Bi-Rite in Lakewood. Happiness spreads from customers via social media, or a visitor gleefully calling a friend while walking the aisles and seeing the deliciousness on display.
 
"We looked at our core values, and it's more than just selling candy," says Sapell. "It's about creating a place where people can have a good time and get away from what's stressing them out." 

Read more articles by Douglas J. Guth.

Douglas J. Guth is a Cleveland Heights-based freelance writer and journalist. In addition to Fresh Water, his work has been published by Midwest Energy News, Kaleidoscope Magazine and Think, the alumni publication of Case Western Reserve University. A die-hard Cleveland sports fan, he also writes for the cynically named (yet humorously written) blog Cleveland Sports Torture.   
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