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 CanCanCandy.com. Give them a shout at 716-883-3489.