Added sugar: Winter Park gets new candy shop inside new Stoked Meeting House
WINTER PARK — Clear jars full of rainbow gumdrops, jawbreakers and jelly beans sit lined up on tables draped in gingham, enticing the eye of anyone who walks into the new Stoked Meeting House in Winter Park. The coffee, wine and beer bar’s sweet surprise is the candy store in the back half of the space, The Sweet Life.
The Sweet Life started as a life-long dream for owner Megan Luther, who grew up working at a candy store in Minnesota.
“I fell in love with it then and it’s kind of always been a cream of mine to make it happen wherever I landed,” Luther said. “Honestly, walking in through the back door everyday to get the store ready and having that smell hit me, it doesn’t get old. (…) Because this is such a cool little shop to have, it doesn’t feel like work.”
Luther, who is also a broker and owner of local real estate company The Simple Life, said opening the candy store was serendipitous because her and her business partner sold the space to Stoked Meeting House owner Andras Horanyi. Stoked Meeting House is located in the old Mountain Rose Cafe at the intersection of Highway 40 and Rosie’s Way.
Customers can fill paper bags with their selection of candy and pay by the pound. Luther said it’s designed so that customers can get as much or as little as they want.
“I’m bringing it back to the glass jars, the paper bags and the tin scoops,” she said. “Kids can pick up one Tootsie Roll or they can grab a handful of something or a scoop.”
Because Luther’s saccharine dream is inspired by her experience growing up, she said she wanted to offer as many candies as she could that she loved and that are nostalgic for others, such as black licorice candies, candy buttons and over 40 flavors of taffy.
She’s open to suggestions as well and continues to add to the growing collection as she finds new and fun sweets. Luther said her goal is to keep the jars and baskets full and inviting.
“People will come in and tell stories like ‘I remember this! My grandma had this’ so that’s the kind of stuff I wanted to have,” she explained. “It’s almost like a bunch of happy little memories when you walk through.”
Horanyi said he was happy to share space with Luther and the candy store because it’s easy to integrate the two businesses since after all, coffee and chocolate is a combo that’s hard to beat.
“I just like the idea of an old-fashioned candy shop because it brings a bunch of colors and playfulness and joy, which was my whole goal for this place,” he said. “And then it turned out way better than I could have imagined.”
The partnership also allows Horanyi to get creative at the coffee bar. Each coffee drink is served with M&Ms on the side and he’s experimented with baking chocolate rocks into pastries.
He said that so far customers have enjoyed the coffee and candy mix inside Stoked because there’s something for everyone.
“Everyone seems to really like the concept,” he said. “It’s fun to see when kids and their parents come in and the kids run to see the candy and the parents are like ‘oh good, you have wine.’”
Stoked Meeting House and The Sweet Life opened its doors a few weeks ago, but will celebrate the grand opening and ribbon cutting with the Winter Park-Fraser Chamber of Commerce at 4:30 p.m. Feb. 1.
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