Saturday, June 19, 2021

Fuzziwig’s Candy Factory: Mood Booster and Palate Pleaser

Fuzziwig’s Candy Factory owners Don and Trish Grueser are smiling behind their masks as they enjoy each day.

It’s almost as good as walking into Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory when you enter Fuzziwig’s Candy Factory at 1126 Orange Ave. In fact, you can even find everlasting gobstoppers, as well as almost every imaginable confection sure to satisfy every sweet tooth. It’s like winning the golden ticket when you step inside.

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Transitioning from careers in cosmetics and shoes, Trish and Don Grueser became chocolatiers in retirement when they moved from Chicago to Colorado. They learned their candy making skills as owners of multiple Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factories in Colorado and then purchased the Fuzziwig’s concept. They own, with their children as partners, the Fuzziwig’s stores in Vail and Steamboat Springs, Colorado.

Coronado has been lucky to have them as the owners of Fuzziwig’s Candy Factory here for the past 11 years. They have found their passion in the fun and colorful store, filled with everything from homemade truffles, fudge, Coronado Crunch, caramels and other handcrafted treats, to an assortment of nostalgic candies like Charleston Chews and Abba-Zabas. You’ll find taffy in an array of flavors, a colorful M&M wall, jellybeans galore, Dippin’ Dots, and a multitude of sweet and sour candies in fun shapes. In addition to being a full line candy store, they offer a selection of toys, which includes Legos, magic tricks, toy cars, stuffed animals, mermaids, a giant assortment of PEZ dispensers, and many more eye catching children’s gifts.

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Truffles and hand dipped chocolates come in a variety of flavors.

“We wanted to be a family store, where you could get your favorite candy as well as a kid’s gift,” says Trish. Trish says she wants Fuzziwig’s to be a place where people can come and savor a glimpse of fun, whether it be to select an old fashioned candy or enjoy a hand crafted chocolate truffle. Best sellers at the shop include sea salt caramels and Coronado Crunch. “We love seeing our locals with their favorite requests,” says Trish.

They were devastated when the pandemic forced them to close last March, having just geared up their inventory for a busy Easter providing basket-filling goodies. “We thought we would be shut down two weeks and that turned into two months,” says Trish. Then with most of the tourists gone, they missed out on the summer rush and their best holiday, the Fourth of July.

“We are pleased that we have been able to keep our eight employees on throughout this time, with the help of PPP and city loan money,” comments Trish. Both say their business has been hard hit, especially at first when people were afraid to go out, but a few locals did come to the door, not wanting to venture inside, and asked for help in selecting candy choices to be brought out to them. They point to the ebb and flow of their business now being linked to if restaurants are allowed to have sit-down dining, when people will wander in after a meal. As business is slowly picking up, they hope that this summer, and especially Fourth of July, will be back closer to their usual numbers.

Fuzziwig’s now offers bagged sweet and sour candies in almost every imaginable shape.

While they were shut down and after, they made the store compliant with COVID health requirements by cleaning and sanitizing the store, providing sanitizer for customers, only allowing six customers in at a time with masks, and social distancing. Additional changes include the bagging of all their bulk candy, everything from chocolate covered almonds to gummy sharks. They have found customers, especially mothers, like this new concept.

“The blessing has been that we get to give our customers extra personalized service, where before, during busy times, the store was jammed with people,” says Trish. They don’t have a website, because Don says that their small, personalized candy business is not conducive to online ordering, since candy is usually ordered in bulk with high shipping costs. He is looking at ways though that they might be able to offer their concept online for customer convenience.

A self-proclaimed chocolate lover, when asked her favorite treat, Trish laughs and says, “I dream about all varieties of chocolate as I walk to work, but chocolate covered graham crackers are my favorite breakfast choice.” Don says that he likes to sample various chocolates throughout the day. I discovered that they have a designated candy drawer in their house like I do, and giving candy is usually their gift of choice.

Chocolatier Virginia Eastman is a wizard at making all types of scrumptious chocolate creations.

It’s amazing to see all the treats they make in-house every day, including turtles, nut clusters, chocolate covered fruit, chocolate dipped pretzels, fudge, caramel apples, sea foam, peanut butter cups, truffles, and many more delicacies. For the upcoming Valentine’s Day holiday, they will be offering their fabulous double dipped strawberries, as well as milk and dark chocolate heart shaped boxes that can be filled with the candy of your choice and wrapped as a tasty gift.

Home made chocolate boxes can be filled with your valentine’s favorite candy.

Trish and Don count it a blessing to live in such a wonderful town and love every minute they spend with their employees and helping out customers.

Fuzziwig’s Candy Factory • 1126 Orange Avenue
(where the big blue masked M&M welcomes you)

Fuzziwig’s on Facebook
619-437-7290

Open daily from 9 am to 7 pm, they offer local delivery and curbside pickup.

The big blue masked M&M invites customers in to try the amazing selection of chocolate and candy.

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Jennifer Velez
Jennifer fell in love with Coronado as a teenager while visiting a college friend. She vowed that someday she would make it her home, and that dream has recently become a reality. Fast forward through completing college with a BA in Journalism, Public Relations and Communications, she then went on to work with a variety of clients. She also taught Journalism and coordinated fundraising for her children’s school, and was a staff writer for San Diego Family Magazine and contributed to other parenting publications. Have news to share? Send tips, story ideas or letters to the editor to: manager@coronadotimes.com
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