There’s more to Easter candy than giant chocolate bunnies, but that doesn’t make them any less popular.
Three stores in Birmingham — , and — are in the full swing with the Easter candy season.
Schakolad franchise owner Douglas Cale said the bunnies are the most popular of the seasonal fare, in sizes ranging from three inches to three feet tall.
While the down economy has made business more difficult, Cale said, creativity and an awareness of the demands of the marketplace have helped him stay competitive. Pineapple wasabi and apple cinnamon truffles are two of the store's most recent debuts.
The Birmingham Schakolad has been in business for just more than three years. Cale said the candy in his store can’t be compared to that available in the larger stores. His favorite? That's easy: dark chocolate coconut-filled Easter eggs.
“The chocolates were made here so they are fresh. When you walk in the store you smell the fresh aroma of chocolate,” Cale said. “We use the very best ingredients."
Along those same lines, Sweet Thing was born out of economic inventiveness on the part of founder Stacy Stone. Looking for ways to make extra money, Stone started constructing candy cakes for parties.
“I thought ‘My gosh, maybe I’m on to something,’” Stone said. “It was really a whim.”
She and her husband Walter combined their creativity and business sense to open their candy store downtown earlier this year. The couple has been "crazed," Walter said, but couldn't be happier with the outcome. "It just keeps getting better and better. We thought Valentine’s Day was huge and then Easter is turning out to be better," Stacy said.
The Stones guarantee one thing about their candy store: If it’s still being made, they either already have it or can get it easily. Kinder eggs, a candy from the United Kingdom, have been the best selling Easter candy for Sweet Thing.
Stone said her favorite is the chocolate-dipped Peeps. “They are really unbelievable,” Stone said.
The Sanders store, which has been open on Maple Road for five years, features several Easter-specific candies and packages as well as regular products on sale all year round.
Store manager Linda Mannone said this is easily her busiest season of the year. The bunnies are the most popular Easter offering, in all chocolate varieties.
Mannone had trouble picking her favorite. “I love the elegant jelly beans, the fruit jelly beans,” Mannone said. “Oh, and the dark chocolate, the solid chocolates … they are so good.”
The Sanders stores have been a Detroit staple since the founding of the first store in 1875. Mannone said customers like to stop in for Michigan-themed candy, like the license plates made of chocolate.
The Easter season offers everyone a chance indulge in candy and shops in Birmingham are not short on options.
“We have the greatest customers in the whole world,” Stone said. “They all walk in happy. What’s to be unhappy about in a candy store?”