By Ina Paiva Cordle
The Miami Herald.
Escape to the kaleidoscopic world of IT’SUGAR, and all your nostalgic dreams of colorful candy will come flooding back.
Gummy bears of all sizes and flavors. Rock candy in assorted pastel hues. Swirling lollipops as big as your face. Long candy necklaces. Dots.
It’s a candy lover’s heaven, filled with guilty pleasures of all kinds.
“IT’SUGAR is not just a candy store,” said President and Chief Executive Jeff Rubin. “We’ve really positioned ourselves as a gift store that lives at the intersection of attitude and fun.”
Founded in 2006, the chain of candy stores, headquartered in Deerfield Beach, has quickly expanded to become one of the nation’s largest and fastest-growing specialty retailers of candy.
IT’SUGAR has 64 stores nationwide. By the end of the year, Rubin expects to have 80 shops in all.
Inside the company’s newest local store, which opened April 11 at the Shops at Pembroke Gardens in Pembroke Pines, shelves and displays are filled to the brim with every kind of candy, including gummy bears from mini-size to giant, and gift items like plush toys and pillows.
Round tables are loaded with plastic bins of bulk candy, with throwbacks like Swedish mini fish, candy corn, wax bottles and hot tamales, to be scooped into a bag or Chinese food-type box.
“We sell humor,” said Rubin, 50, amid the store’s playful music, including, at one point, “The Candy Man.” “We sell fun.” In all, the company sells more than 2,500 different choices of candy, he said.
One display is packed with boxed private label items like Dingle Bearies, chocolate-covered gummy bears, and Camel Balls, sour bubble gum balls. Nearby is a box of assorted candy in neat plastic compartments called Obsessive Candy Disorder.
“When you go into IT’SUGAR, it’s not very serious. It’s sugar,” said Rubin, who refers to himself as Chief Gummy Bear. “Eliciting laughter is our main goal with so many of the items we carry. It makes you have fun and get away from the gray skies of everyday life.”