articles, places

Take a Step Back in Time at SLO Sweets

Photo by Rick Evans

Candy, Gelato, Nostalgic Toys, & More in Downtown Paso Robles

A trip to SLO Sweets Candy Store in downtown Paso Robles is like taking a step back in time. For an unmistakable feeling of being a kid in a candy store, this premier old-fashioned candy shop tops the list of favorite places to visit on the Central Coast.

Owned and managed by Miranda Battenburg and her husband, John, a Cal Poly professor for the past 27 years, SLO Sweets was formerly run as a Powell’s Candy Store franchise. The Battenburgs also own the San Luis Obispo location, set for a name change to SLO Sweets in March 2018.

SLO Sweets features an Asian candy section, which is quite popular with the teens, and a Mexican candy section. Visitors will also find gluten-free, sugar-free, organic, vegan, and braces-friendly options. In addition, find specialty items, holiday items, and an International chocolate section featuring chocolates from around the world including Belgium, France, and Germany.

“We try to cater to a wide range of tastes and age groups,” said Battenburg. “We have candy for the kids, specialty items for the teens and nostalgia-types of candy for the senior crowd.”

Photo by Rick Evans

Sweet Treats for Every Occasion

Nearly all occasions call for candy, and SLO Sweets has every flavor, color, and type imaginable for birthday parties, graduations, weddings, baby showers, retirement parties, company retreats, and more. A popular trend is providing a candy buffet with select sweets set up for party guests.

“We can arrange candy buffets for a wedding reception or any type of party,” said Battenburg. SLO Sweets staff will set up tables with jars of candy, decorations, serve the candy, and provide bags for guests to fill up and take home.

Those who prefer to do their own party planning need look no further than the pink and blue candy sections inside SLO Sweets for baby showers, wedding and party favors, and more all in one easy, and convenient location. Another fun option for kids of all ages is an in-store scavenger hunt –perfect for any special occasion, including sorority and fraternity outings.

“Everyone gets a map, and they go around the store trying to find the candy,” said Battenburg. “They collect and keep the candy, and also get to enjoy a gelato. But it’s not just for kids –the grown-ups love it too also. It’s very refreshing and rewarding to see adults turn into kids in a candy store again! It’s so much fun!”

A Taste of Nostalgia

Looking for a gift for a milestone birthday? Ask the friendly staff at SLO Sweets about their candy cheat sheets, designed especially for those looking to find candies of the past. With barrels and displays of countless brands of nostalgia candies, it’s easy to put together a gift. Take a trip down memory lane and maybe find a few new favorite sweet treats.

“I never tire of hearing people saying, ‘I haven’t seen this candy since I was a kid’ or ‘Grandmother would take me to the candy store and give me a quarter to buy this candy’. The prices have changed, yes, but the feeling is the same; it’s the reactions on their faces and that flood of memories,” said Battenburg.

Find nostalgic and classic toys, along with trick candles and gum, metal lunch boxes featuring Dr. Who, Elvis, and Curious George, stuffed animals, and creative cards at SLO Sweets. There’s also a wide selection of old fashioned sodas in glass bottles such as Moxie, Faygo, and Dad’s Rootbeer, along with Asian sodas in a variety of flavors such as melon, blueberry, and juicy pear.

Photo by Rick Evans

Bulk Candy, Gelato, & More

Over 300 bins and baskets, filled with bulk candy and chocolates sold by the pound, are located throughout the store. Be sure to check out the chocolate display case with handmade truffles and other local chocolate delicacies.

Or sit in the theater seats and watch Willa Wonka or listen to the candy-themed songs; it’s all part of the SLO Sweets experience.

“This is a happy business to be involved with,” said Battenburg. “Everyone is so busy with life and work these days, and there are very few activities you do as an adult that take you back to when you were a kid. If this can change our customers’ day for the better, it is just a great thing to be part of.”

Come in for samples of Leo Leo Gelato, made locally, and be sure to try the warm, made-to-order Belgian waffles – a sweet treat that is not to be missed. Ask about the SLO Sweets Candy Club, the perfect treat for yourself or loved ones, or send a candy care package for a birthday, anniversary, or special occasion; local delivery available.

Community-based, the folks at SLO Sweets lend support with fundraisers and donations to various organizations including local schools. Field trips are encouraged, and online certificates are provided for local teachers to print and award for classroom achievements or incentives.

“We live here, we work here, our staff lives here, and we are community-based,” said Battenburg. “It’s important to us to support our neighboring local businesses, and our suppliers and contacts are mostly local people as well. We like to be involved in our community, and we are members of the Main Street Association and Chamber of Commerce.”

In Paso Robles, visit SLO Sweets Candy Store at 840 11th St., Suite 101; (805) 239-1544. Visit Powell’s Sweet Shoppe, soon to be SLO Sweets, at 1020 Court St. in San Luis Obispo; (805) 543-7933. Both locations are open daily, including holidays, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. with extended hours until 10 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. For more information, see slosweets.com.

*Story originally published in San Luis Obispo County Visitors Guide, slovisitorsguide.com, Winter 2017 edition

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