Who can take a sunrise, sprinkle it with dew, cover it in chocolate and a miracle or two? Madison’s newest Campus Candy can.
And while the hottest sweet shop on State Street might not mix their treats with love to make the world taste good, students and Madisonians seem to certainly love the store. With a grand opening on Oct. 29, Campus Candy’s notoriety has skyrocketed further than Augustus Gloop out of a glass shoot in little over a week, and business is booming.
It began when the founder of Campus Candy, Mark Tarnofsky, had to trek all the way to a CVS pharmacy in order to buy a simple candy bar.
“[It] was a fluke. I got pissed off that I had to go a drug store where you buy deodorant to buy a candy bar, and I just thought it was ridiculous! So I said, ‘I’m opening a candy store,’” Tarnofsky said.
And after targeting social media sites like Facebook and Twitter as tools for gaining popularity and interest, Tarnofsky set his sights on college towns with sweet-tooths to be satisfied.
The first Campus Candy opened its doors to students at Indiana University in Bloomington on March 23 of this year, and was closely followed with plans for other openings at universities around the country. Madison’s Campus Candy is its second location and has been met with great enthusiasm from the Madison Community.
“I can’t thank [the people of Madison] enough,” Tarnofsky said. “It’s just been unreal and exciting.”
Centrally located across from Urban Outfitters on State Street, the sweet shop is truly a feast for your eyes as you walk through the doors.
“You can always, always tell when someone comes in for the first time because their eyes get really big, their face lights up, and it’s just an amazing experience,” said Regional Manager Jerremy Deckard. “We’ve got what we call the ‘wow’ factor.”
And after glimpsing at the faces of students as they perused the walls of candy from floor to ceiling, the inner child in each of them was undeniably giddy with excitement.
Electric green floors draw your attention at first glance, followed by the extensive collection of every kind of candy imaginable. At first, the selection is a bit intimidating. Then, you remember – there’s nothing intimidating about candy, and you go to town.
The shop has over 500 types of sweets, ranging from your classic gummy bears, M&M’s and Jelly Beans, to the more unique variety of sour power belts, chocolate covered brownie dough and chocolate cocoa haystacks.
And with “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows” right around the corner, the mix of colors, music and excitement surrounding the place could make a kid think they’d just landed in Honeydukes sweet shop. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
As the shop’s logo states, ‘We Ain’t Just Candy,” and Campus Candy goes far beyond providing students and Madisonians with a sugar high. The store also offers more than 150 rotating different flavors of fat-free frozen yogurt to compliment that candy nicely.
“It’s a unique concept,” Tarnofsky said enthusiastically, “and it’s fun. The whole store is your topping bar!” Realizing the importance of Social Media sites as key to their demographic, Campus Candy posts their daily choices of frozen yogurt on Facebook and Twitter, and they even take suggestions on fro-yo flavors and candy selection. Whether you like it sweet like their New York Cheesecake yogurt, or tart like their Key Lime flavor, there’s something for everybody to enjoy.
“It’s really the next Starbucks, but with candy instead of coffee,” Tarnofsky said. “It’s a place for the students, as well as the town, and we make this home to them. That’s what it’s all about.”
Tarnofsky has certainly succeeded in making the location appealing to students, with free wi-fi, tables for studying and eight flat- screen TV’s hanging above the rainbow colored walls. With nearly two weeks under its belt, Campus Candy has already established some faithful regulars who frequent the store for candy or frozen yogurt once a day, and sometimes twice.
And from the tremendously positive reaction the store has gotten in the past days, it doesn’t look like Madison will be denied the opportunity for sweet indulgences any time soon.
UW junior Kate Stingl, says that walking into Campus Candy “was like heaven on earth,” as she carries her bag-o-treats around College Library.
So while Wonka’s factory might out-do the tiny shop on State Street, we’ve got our own “world of imagination” right here in Madison at Campus Candy, and it seems like it’s here to stay.