Ron Waller shows off some of the treats available at Hansel and Gretel’s Candy Co. in Chemainus on Willow St.

Ron Waller shows off some of the treats available at Hansel and Gretel’s Candy Co. in Chemainus on Willow St.

Candy shop draws kids of all ages

Among the boutique-style shops filled with clothes and antiques lies a haven for the young and young at heart.Hansel and Gretel’s Candy Co. at the south end of Willow Street has been open now for three years.Inspired by the Banff Candy Store and driven by a family’s dream, the candy store has become a must for kids and adults alike looking for sweets and sours reflecting all colours of the rainbow.According to Kathy Weager — who co-owns the store along with her daughter, who is still referred to as Candy Brandy by many in Chemainus — the venture thrives because of a focus on customer service and by catering to kids.“We strongly believe in supporting the kids of Ladysmith, Crofton and Chemainus,” said Weager, noting every year they set aside money to help fund such initiatives such as local skaters, festivals and donating candy bags for a local hockey tournament.“The reason we opened the candy store is we wanted something kid friendly in Chemainus,” said Weager.“Something that the kids can call their own.”Weager said she is grateful for the support they have received from the community that has allowed them to grow. That growth, said Weager, may include new stores outside Chemainus.The store has two full-time and two part-time workers.The number becomes four full-time people in the summer, when one employee is charged with crowd control.Traffic in the summer gets to the point that a line begins to form outside the store.Chalk, a candy-covered licorice, bon-bons and chocolate-covered jujubes rank among their sweetest sellers, said Weager.But kids have also come to know the Mystery Boxes, candy-filled carry outs filled with sweets and a potential treasure.“It’s the witches special of the cottage. They have the chance to win (just like the Hansel and Gretel story) a gold coin or Chemainus dollars.“It encourages the kids to shop locally,” Weager noted.