Share, , , Google Plus, Reddit, Pinterest, StumbleUpon


Posted in:

Surrender To Can Can Candy

Any time you can build a business around fun, go for it. Ernie Torres and Peter McLean, owners of a new small five and dime shop called Can Can Candy, have dreamed up a sweet recipe on Elmwood that they hope will inspire the kid in all of us.

The idea of the five and dime took root a few years ago when Ernie and Peter flew into Buffalo’s airport (from Texas) in order to make their way to Toronto. The two were, and still are, big fans of winter and found themselves miserably making due with the southwest’s scorching heat. The trip to Toronto, via Buffalo, had become routine until one fateful day, when they decided to drive through Buffalo instead of around it. It was then that they found themselves on Richmond Avenue ogling the robust rows of Victorians. “That’s when we saw the For Sale sign,” Ernie told me. “The sign read that the house was for sale for $87,500. We assumed that the house was really for sale for $875,000, and that there had been a mistake in the listing. All the same, we called the realtor and were stunned when we heard that the price was not a mistake. Unfortunately the house had already sold, but all the same we were determined to move to Buffalo.”


Ten years after moving to Buffalo, Ernie and Peter managed to open Can Can Candy just in time for this past Valentine’s Day. In preparation for opening day, the shop was stocked with ribbon candy, colorful suckers, seasonal gifts and sweets and name brand candies and chocolate bars. Many of the edibles are displayed behind old world antique display cases, which places an even greater importance on the inexpensive product. Not since the Pop Shop, once found at the corner of Elmwood and Bidwell, have I felt like… a kid in a candy shop? Maybe it was the whimsical decor that transported me back to my youth. In the back of the shop a faux performance stage has been built. On the stage a cancan dancer, frozen in time, can be seen giving a high kick in the direction of the Eiffel Tower. Midway through the shop a flatscreen TV, camouflaged by use of an elaborate gold frame, plays classic movies depicting an era gone by. I was happy to catch part of The Wizard of Oz while browsing over the displays.


Candy will be the main focus of this eclectic Elmwood addition, though there will also be plenty of gifts to be found. Ernie told me that he was still expecting a line of wind up tin toys to make an appearance any day. He’s also looking forward to the arrival of the vintage candy bars. I noticed ribbon and gift wrap behind the counter along with balloons and a helium tank. The owners are still on the lookout for a soda company to complete the five and dime experience – of course customers can’t expect to pay 5 and 10 cents anymore… that would be asking to much (or too little). I understand that Can Can Candy has made quite an impression on the Canisius High School students who make a daily pilgrimage to 822 Elmwood Avenue. Hey, I remember the days fondly… I just don’t remember them being so darn entertaining.

Can Can Candy and Gifts is located at 822 Elmwood Avenue. You can also find them online at Give them a shout at 716-883-3489.

Written by WCPerspective


Buffalo and development junkie currently exiled in California.

View All Articles by WCPerspective
Hide Comments
Show Comments
  • OnTheWagon

    Great, great, awesome.
    Another BRO story about another great small business that totally disregards what happened to the last failure. I guess Shoe Fly or whatever was there before, is out of site out of mind.
    Comes a time
    when the blind man
    takes your hand
    says don’t you see?
    BRO takes the lyrical meaning in a reverse, parallel universe.

  • OnTheWagon

    And to all the folks that bashed me for ‘dreaming’ that manufacturing could never return….
    You are the problem. The USA makes more GDP from manufacturing than it did in the boom times…we just don’t make cars and steel and furniture and clothes. So what? But wake up and realize that just because Buffalo failed to change with the times doesn’t mean everyone else in the US did. It’s just a culture of blame in Buffalo, I’m glad I left. Makes me sick thinking that the city is left with folks who just want to make sure there are a few nice places to live for the 100000 of you that will be still be stuck there in 15 years.
    These peanut businesses come and go so fast I wonder why a site called “Buffalo Rising” even gives a sh_t. 2 employees who sell candy. 2 employess who sell candy.
    Change the name of this website, it’s false advertising.

  • buffbuff

    Nice looking store, displays are pretty cool. Good Luck fellas!

  • ChristaSeychew

    Shoefly is still alive and well.

  • Dagner

    ShoeFly’s success caused it to move to larger quarters on Elmwood.

  • townline

    Where in BR’s mission is it that they are to report on industrial changes??? BR has always been about quality of life issues – not that jobs aren’t part of that – but its about much more than corporate expansion. Its about neighborhoods, culture, arts, local services, etc… A business like a candy shop falls much more in the quality of life category than economic development.
    There are industrial expansions happening all the time in Buffalo and (even though that news can be positive, also) BR generally doesn’t chose to report on that. Its not their interest. When I want that information, I read Business First. Why does BR need to focus on everything?
    You’re rants aren’t about commenting about the topics at hand, but, rather, to prove that you apparently “get it” and no one else does. Glad you “got it” and moved away. I hope the grass is greener for you…

  • needles

    OnTheWagon is just trying to sh1t on Buffalo to satisfy his inner agenda to justify his departure out of Buffalo to whatever crap place it may be was the right move.
    We’re glad you left too.
    ::waits in terror for witty reply::

  • swf

    back on point….
    i love candy. i’ll be in soon. i like how you decorated. nice little addition to elmwood.
    ps…i hate ribbon candy.

  • Scott Norwood

    Good stuff.
    Back to the store covered in the story, it seems like a good idea. The space is small and rather awkward so hopefully candy will prove successful.
    The new Shoe Fly is better and will hopefully be around for a long time.
    OnTheWagon is off base and sounds really bitter about something. Own up to it and tell us what really bothers you about a Candy Store, Newell, BRO, or just Buffalo in general.

  • OnTheWagon

    Hey, I try to provoke Newell et al. and others on this site. I think I do a decent job at it even if I get off topic or piss people off. I provoke them to stimulate debates, and if I get over the top I think it’s because I’m interested. If I lose it once and a while it’s because the blog is effective.
    I provoke BRO because, due to it’s well deserved success, has put itself in a position of power. I want them to use that power. I want to see them use that power to effect real change for WNY, not just Buffalo. I don’t have anything against them or Newell. They are effecing change but let’s see it branch out to more than just the EV and grounded class than can appreciate what they write about. Hopefully some people will read what I write and run with it, find an idea and help Buffalo directly (and no that’s not me, insult me all you want, I’m on another career path and Buffalo isn’t the place for it, I moved back and left, it’s just not for me anymore, but I care).
    I am bitter. I’m bitter that the people of the city I grew up in it have, collectively, let it rot to near death. I’m bitter that the reality is most of the youth will leave the area to build better lives. I’m bitter that the criticism I get makes me think there is no hope in the long run, even if the EV community thrives a little longer and is the last to turn out the lights.
    And, I’ll buy some candy at the store when I visit, and keep buying most of my consumer goods from Buffalo businesses there or online, as I do now, for the long run. And, I’ll donate to Buffalo based charities, and all that stuff you folks think people like me and the rest us 350,000 people don’t do just because we left.

  • Scott Norwood

    I respect your decision to leave and your attempt to provoke Newell and the other writers of BRO. I have to disagree though about this alleged position of power that BRO holds. I don’t think BRO has quite the pull you perceive. The readers are the ones who can create change.
    What I also don’t understand is the EV hatred. There are a certain number of posters on here who always say the same crap about how pathetic the EV community is. I don’t see what is so wrong with celebrating an area of the city that is thriving.
    Don’t be bitter just because it wasn’t for you. It isn’t for a lot of people, but for those of us who have lived elsewhere and made the conscious decision to come home and embrace the area we grew up in, be happy for us.
    Thanks for explaining your point of view OnTheWagon, and more importantly, thank you for supporting Buffalo through donations and through continuing to care enough to read this site…..and The Savages was great…chalk another one up for the lovable losers.

  • buffbuff

    Look, I wish these guys well, but where is “stash”, “sweet and dirty””, “be-u-tiful”, “damesl in a dress”, “diggin it” and all the other stores BRO writes about, closed. They rarely make it here, I understand even “room” is struggeling. Not the fault of the stores or the owners, just the idiots that post they want retail and then never support it in the end. I laugh when I read how a store has moved elsewhere on Elmwood, like a new local will help. Either shop or shut the f up!

  • OnTheWagon

    I meant “me overestimating…”, sorry

  • MRodgers

    I think they’re coming out of SUWNY. That’s the only other place I’ve seen such overt commisseration on the net.

  • OnTheWagon

    BRO’s power is through the people, you’re right and that was what I mean, but I don’t see a huge distinction – they are the fuse and seed and they have created something that could ignite large changes.
    Pitbull – I just can’t come up with words to express how sad I feel at your opinion of what I am really trying to convey.
    Rodgers – YAATFRW is CATF


    My Last 2 stories were about the East side. I would say probably close to 50% (maybe more) of what I have written deals with missed opportunities in the city. I was just thinking that I have to start writing a bit more that is overtly positive.
    The thing is there are plenty of stories in all the media pointing out why Buffalo is supposed to be worthless. Just today The News had an editorial beating away at how crappy Buffalo weather is versus Hawaii. I really don’t think there should be a problem with BRO focusing attention on positive aspects of the city especially since they can be so tenuous after 50 years of massive disinvestment.

  • Crisa

    NO. SUWNY is not a misspelling of SUNY. SUNY is The State University of New York at Buffalo.
    I stated on an earlier topic that when I was searching for something online, and my search had nothing to do with BR or “BN”, I found that both BR and “BN” were featured side by side. That was a surprise to me because I thought I was the only one who feels that the two are comparable. (Comparable, not compatable, that is.)
    “BN” is contracturally and legally limited to old, outdated modes.
    BR is upandcoming along in the newest territory.
    “BN” only has a toe in the door of the Internet while still being bound to the old ways…meanwhile, “BN” keeps trying to figure out how to force outdatedness onto newness!