Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Candy Shoppe on Main is bringing a sugar-high to Downtown Salisbury.

The store’s grand opening is set for 5 p.m. Friday, during Friday Night Out downtown.

The store was started by the Vick family but is owned and operated by the youngest son, Tyler

Tyler, 23, graduated from Salisbury High School and worked as an intern at the Literary Bookpost. He knew the area and he knew that there wasn’t a store like this anywhere nearby.

His father, Don Vick, always wanted to open a candy store and knows his sweets. He’s been in the candy importing business for 35 years and was part of the team that introduced Werther and Mamba to the U.S. He’s visited several candy manufacturers, and the owners of many of the candy companies that stock the Shoppe’s shelves are personal friends.

Besides, candy just runs in the family, the Vicks said.

The store itself is a fusion of old and new. The walls are hung with old advertisements, and antique cases are decorated with old candy memorabilia.

The theme extends to the product, as well. The shelves are stocked and hung with everything from Abba Zabas to Zots, familiar name brands, old-timey candy and even salt water taffy. Glass display cases are lit to show off fine-quality chocolate, truffles and fudge. There’s also a sugar-free section for sweet-teeth that have to watch their sugar.

The Vicks like to say they specialize in quality, buying from small companies all over the country that use unique, old-fashioned, or handmade methods and candy that doubles as a water-gun from abroad. The Shoppe caters to everyone’s sugar-craving.

“If we don’t have it here, we can find it,” Don Vick said.

Vick wants the shop to be more than a place to satisfy a sweet tooth. He wants it to be an experience. That’s why the heart and soul of the store is a world map. The brain child of Tyler, the map is backed with a metal plate and equipped with magnets that can be placed on any country. Pieces of colorful string lead from each magnet to a shelf of candy imported from each country.

“It kind of wraps up what the whole store is about,” Vick said.

Vick’s desire is for people to realize that candy is more than just a sugary snack. He wants to educate others about how it’s made and where it comes from. He makes a hobby of visiting factories and seeing how each item is made first-hand and knows about every candy in the store, pointing out which chews are from Columbia, Brazil, or other foreign countries.

“I’ve basically become a student of candy.” Vick said.

The Shoppe also plans to run a photo contest. Each month, local photographers can submit a photo of a person eating candy to the Shoppe. The winner will be displayed in one of the large front windows and receive a $10 gift certificate to the store.

The Candy Shoppe is located at 119 S. Main in the old Literary Bookpost building, and the Vicks worked hard to get it set up for opening night. With some help from their landlord, local contractors, Sign Designs and The Lettered Lily, the Shoppe is ready for its grand opening.

Rebecca Rider is a Catawba College Senior and intern at the Salisbury Post.