Alix In Candyland
“So many out-of-the-way things had happened lately, that Alice had begun to think that very few things indeed were really impossible,” wrote author Lewis Caroll in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Edina’s Alix in Candyland, opened last August, is finding a similar fate, as owners Lynn Evinger and Alix Noonan are proving that nothing is impossible with candy. Borrowing its namesake from the famous tale, the shop’s every detail fits the story’s theme, from the Cheshire Cat perched in the window to the Jolly White Rabbit that adorns the entrance.
Family friends for years, Evinger and Noonan had the idea for the modern day wonderland over dinner, where they brainstormed business ideas. Noonan, fresh from the University of Saint Thomas with a degree in marketing, had originally wanted to open a dessert shop, but Evinger always dreamed of a candy store and realized a need for one.
“Edina has everything you need, you almost don’t have to leave,” says Evinger. “But the city hasn’t had a dedicated candy shop. We wanted to create a boutique-like store similar to what you would see in New York City.” The pair combined creative forces, and along with the help of a theatrical designer, Alix in Candyland was born.
Evinger explains that the duo’s motto is to bring “the very best quality products, the widest variety that we can assemble, and an experience within the store that will make everyone smile, from toddler to age 104.”
Unique to their shop is a customized gift service. “We want to attract customers who need gifts such as baskets or party favors for events like birthdays or holidays,” says Evinger. “We can tailor our work to every price range, color or theme,” Noonan adds. “You name it, we can do it.”
While gliding over the checkered floor, it is easy to see why Edina has grown to love the eclectic boutique and their colossal selection of candy. Afflicted with a severe case of the chocolate cravings? You are in luck. Alix in Candyland offers a delicious assortment, favorites of which include caramel balls, covered in dark or milk chocolate, and a gourmet version of M&Ms dubbed “Milkies,” which come in every color of the rainbow. (Tiffany blue anyone?)
For non-chocolate fans, this emporium contains a multitude of toothsome delights that range from gummy frogs, licorice Scottie dogs, and sour pickle candies. Every flavor of gummy bears can be found (even chocolate-covered) in addition to giant jawbreakers, rainbow lollipops, and a “Pucker Powder” bar.
Alix in Candyland also boasts an extensive selection of hard to find international candy, which allows customers to take a vicarious mini-vacation, along with whimsical jewelry made of vintage Scrabble and domino pieces.
Treat yourself to a bit of eye candy, along with some real candy,with into Alix in Candyland. Make sure to buy a few bags of goodies though; sweets as addictive as these might not make it through the whole ride home.
Eclectic. Approachable. Charming. These are three adjectives that might come to mind when you first enter Pandolfi, the sweets and gift shop in the alley behind 50th Street. To your right, you’ll immediately notice a couple dozen gelatos in the case, forming an array of colors. If you read anything about Pandolfi when it opened over the summer, then the gelato is probably not news to you. But, shop owner Jeanne Riha has two new formats for selling gelato that are holiday-perfect. She’s now selling pints and quarts, in square containers that can be filled with multiple flavors. (We’re in favor of the seasonal hits, like peppermint, pumpkin, eggnog and cinnamon.) Meanwhile, dessert packs, filled with gelato and other treats like biscotti, could leave dinner party guests in all smiles. Behind that gelato case, a chalkboard advertises other winter savories like coffee and hot chocolate, in addition to listing off bulk candy prices.
From the gelato case, sidestep to the left, and move right on over to the good stuff; the candy, that is. The case is filled with hand-made items like fudge from Eden Prairie’s Prairie Chocolatier, along with bear claws, peanut butter cups and caramels. Riha likens it to the inventory you’d find at an old-fashioned candy store. Samplers running anywhere from $8–$30 are beautifully packaged and ready to ship. Holiday candies like handmade candy canes and foil wrapped chocolates, both Christmas- and Hanukkah-themed, also brighten the shelves.
On the subject of shipping, take note that Pandolfi is now offering gift wrapping and shipping, and it’s not limited to items bought in the store. Gift wrapping is free for items purchased there, but for a fee, any of your finds from your buying spree along 50th and France can be gift-wrapped and shipped. The store might seem too tiny to manage it, but Riha has a large space in the basement under her shop to house the orders, so no armload of packages is too big.
Keep making your way down this skinny corridor of a space, and you’ll find shelves filled with retro candies and piñatas (they can be filled in the shop), plus a huge section of cheer-inducing gifts, most of them running under $30. Charm necklaces, snap purses, sparkly headbands, stuffed animal hats and fingerless gloves will light up the day of any tween birthday girl. Or, find all of the stocking stuffers and Hanukkah-themed gifts you’ll need, both candy, and trinkets like laser key chains, travel games like magnetic checkers, bingo and sudoku, and mini walkie talkies. Also, if you’re on duty to assemble grab bags for a party, consider supporting this mom-and-pop, instead of going to a big box retailer. The shop provides the bags and the candy, and you could easily come out at $2 a bag or less.
Pandolfi is somewhat kid-oriented, for sure. Riha will be filling shoes for St. Nicholas Day on December 6th, if you drop off a labeled shoe in advance and return to pick it up that day. But there’s plenty of merchandise that will speak to the kid in you, like those retro kitty clocks with the swinging tail that you remember from growing up, funky vinyl purses made of candy wrappers, and even candy bouquets, an alternative to floral centerpieces that could be paired with a bottle of wine as a hostess gift or custom-made to top the tables at your own gathering.
Riha loves that kind of whimsy, and chances are, with the many creative directions she likes to take, every time you walk into the store you’ll find something you didn’t see on your last visit.
-Tammy Sproule Kaplan
5400 France Avenue South
3904 W. 50th St.