By Mark Belko
Katie’s Kandy has found its sweet spot — Downtown Pittsburgh.
So much so that owner Jon Weston plans to open two more stores — one on Smithfield Street and one on Liberty Avenue — to supplement the two he now has on Wood Street and in Fifth Avenue Place.
“I’m doing better than I projected. I have not lost money yet. I doubt it will because of the way I structured it,” he said.
Mr. Weston opened the first store in Fifth Avenue Place on July 3 and the second four months later on Wood Street in a building renovated by the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation.
At this rate, Katie’s Kandy, named after Mr. Weston’s daughter, soon will be satisfying the city’s sweet tooth at a level not seen since now-gone Candy-Rama was in its heyday.
At the height of its 55-year run, Candy-Rama operated three stores Downtown — one on Liberty, one on Wood and one on Fifth.
The latter was the last to close in 2007 to make way for the redevelopment of the former G.C. Murphy store and surrounding buildings.
It’s no coincidence that Katie’s Kandy has a store on Wood, one at the end of Fifth and another planned for Liberty.
“If you look where they’re going, I’m pretty close to where [the Candy-Rama stores] were,” Mr. Weston said. “If it’s not broken, why fix it? Candy-Rama did a good job. I commend them for it.”
Katie’s Kandy has made a tasty niche for itself by selling bulk and nostalgic candy. At either of the Downtown stores, customers will find bins stuffed with sweet treats like gummies, jelly beans, Smarties, Atomic Fire Balls, Double Bubble, Sugar Daddies, Mary Janes and Bit-O-Honey.
There are chocolates, malted milk balls and candy bars, including old favorites such as Clark Bars and Bun Bars for those who like a trip down memory lane with their sugar rush.