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Bellefonte shop takes the sweet tooth back in time

Pappy Chuck's Candy Shoppe owner Chuck Kormanski talks on July 1 about the different varieties of candy at the Bellefonte store.
Pappy Chuck's Candy Shoppe owner Chuck Kormanski talks on July 1 about the different varieties of candy at the Bellefonte store. psheehan@centredaily.com

A fun new food venue is open in downtown Bellefonte. Pappy Chuck’s Candy Shoppe opened in early April, catering to the young and young at heart.

When Chuck Kormanski left the home furnishings industry after more than 33 years, he wanted to open a business in downtown Bellefonte. As he began to consider what the area needed, the answer soon became clear.

“Bellefonte really needed a place to just come have fun and I couldn’t think of (a better way) than candy and soft serve ice cream," he said.

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Pappy Chuck’s Candy Shoppe is located at 125 W. Bishop St. in Bellefonte. Centre Daily Times, file

Calling the pairing a “perfect marriage,” Kormanski banks on the two complementing one another, with the candy taking center stage in the colder months and ice cream in the spotlight in summer. However, getting the ice cream portion of the business up and running has been a bigger challenge than anticipated. After a few months’ delay, Pappy Chuck’s Candy Shoppe should be doling out soft serve from Pennsylvania-based Ritchey’s Dairy next week.

The plentiful candy options have already proved a huge hit. The offerings are divided into four categories — gourmet chocolates from Asher’s Chocolates in Lewistown, bulk candy from Jelly Belly Candy Company, organic chocolates and nostalgic candy. It totals more than 200 candy items in the shop. When it comes to deciding which candies to stock, Kormanski looks at what’s currently available in Centre County and then goes the other direction.

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Pappy Chuck's Candy Shoppe owner Chuck Kormanski holds up a giant gummy worm on July 1 at his store in Bellefonte. Phoebe Sheehan psheehan@centredaily.com

“It’s the kind of candy that you don’t find at your typical store,” he said. “I pick out what’s different, that you won’t find elsewhere, and I listen to customers who come in the store and say, 'you know, you ought to try bringing this in.'

"I’ve brought in probably 60 or 70 new items just since I opened April 2 just (from customer recommendations)."

So far, some of Kormanski’s best-selling products include the Asher’s chocolate-covered pretzels and potato chips, the Jelly Belly peach and popcorn jelly beans and nostalgic Mallo Cups.

From retirees looking for their favorite childhood treat, to kids with a few crumpled dollar bills stopping by to wonder in amazement at the sheer variety, Kormanksi said his customer base has been wide and varied, with an already-established audience of repeat customers and new ones discovering the shop every day. To him, the customer appeal is all in the fun.

“This is a place for fun. This is a place where you walk in and you immediately go back to your childhood days or, as a grandparent or a parent, you can bring your child in and share the experience you had as a child, picking out candy in the shop,” he said. “Everything is set up like an old nostalgic candy shop and it’s so much fun for everyone to walk in ... and for me it’s like I’m hosting a party at my house every day."

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Pappy Chuck's Candy Shoppe owner Chuck Kormanski holds up a 5th Avenue bar on July 1 at his store in Bellefonte. Phoebe Sheehan psheehan@centredaily.com

In the coming months, Kormanski hopes to expand his product line even further, potentially adding bulk fudge and premium hot chocolate in the fall and winter.

Pappy Chuck’s Candy Shoppe’s hours are seasonal and hours and any closures for holidays are posted on the shop’s Facebook page. You’ll also find new product announcements and other specials there, if you’ve got your eye out for a particular treat. Don’t see it? Just let Kormanski know. Your favorite candy might just hit the shelves at this growing one-stop shop for all things fun.

For more information, call 353-4498 or visit www.facebook.com/pages/biz/Pappy-Chucks-Candy-Shoppe-343853426081295.

Holly Riddle is a freelance food, travel and lifestyle writer. She can be reached at holly.ridd@gmail.com.
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