Glenwood Springs finds a new downtown sweet spot
GLENWOOD SPRINGS — Kathy Fangman has her own memories of old-timey candy shops while on family vacations or visiting different tourist destinations.
Now, she is realizing her longtime dream of having her very own candy store in the tourist town she has called home for the past seven years.
Fangman opened Grand Avenue Sweets at 818 Grand Ave. last week, and almost immediately became one of the must-stop storefronts in downtown Glenwood Springs.
“Whenever people travel, they always wander into the local candy store,” Fangman said. “It just always brings back good memories.”
This is Fangman’s first foray into running a retail business. But she said that owning a candy store is something she had always wanted to do.
With one of her children, Lyndsay, in college, and the other two, Erin and Zac, in high school, it seemed like the perfect time.
“All three of them will be helping me out this summer,” Fangman said.
While the economy has been slow to recover in recent years, she noted that the tourism business in Glenwood Springs has remained fairly steady.
“I think this will be a very popular tourist spot when people are out walking around downtown,” she said.
Grand Avenue Sweets is a classic old-fashioned candy store, with barrels full of all-time favorites like salt-water taffy, Bit O’Honey, Jolly Rancher and other familiar names.
“People come in and say, ‘Oh, I haven’t seen these for years,’” Fangman said of some of the throw-back candy bars that most stores no longer carry, like Clark, Good News, 100 Grand, Look and Abba Zaba bars.
She even carries Moon Pies, Charleston Chews, and — though the once-iconic interstate highway fueling station and convenience store chain is long gone — Stuckey’s Pecan Logs.
Nostalgic school lunch boxes line a top shelf, with images of movie theater favorites like Dots, Junior Mints and Sugar Daddies, and of the wise old Tootsie Pop owl (“how many licks does it take to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop?”).
“The barrels are always a big attraction, and the older gentlemen just love to come in to look at the buck board wagon,” Fangman said of the front window ornament.
A big, stuffed teddy bear also adorns the wagon, and soon-to-come will be an electric train that will run along the ceiling in the back of the store.
Fangman works with a variety of wholesalers to buy her candies, and her 12 varieties of fudge and assorted turtles come from a candy maker in Denver.
“I also want to be as local as I can,” she said of some of the area candy makers who have approached her about carrying their delectable confections.
And, though she is unable to make candy on site for the time being, Fangman said that is something she would like to do in the future.
“It’s always fun when people can watch as the candy is made,” she said. “But that will have to wait for now.”
Fangman previously worked as an accountant in Carbondale before opening the candy store. Her husband, Dennis, works for Balentine Carpets.
Grand Avenue Sweets is the second candy store in downtown Glenwood Springs. The Chocolate Moose Ice Cream Parlor at 710 Grand Ave. also has a separate store carrying hand-made truffles.
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