Last year, when Rendez-Vous Cafe owner Nazir El-Awar needed an idea for a new store on campus, he surveyed students who came into the cafe. Their most popular request: a candy store. Three months ago, the students got their wish when El-Awar opened the Sweet U Candy Store on South University.
The seemingly endless walls of candy on both sides of the narrow store may cause customers to act like little kids again, but Sweet U doesn’t yet merit the title of paradise. It’s clean and has everything expected of a candy store, but the prices are high and the organization needs some improvement.
However, the store is still in its early stages, and the reaction from students has already been extremely positive. “The girls are really excited. The guys are probably just as excited but don’t want to act like they are,” manager Amanda Siegfried said.
The homemade products are some of the most popular items, according to Siegfried. The store makes and sells its own cotton candy, flavored popcorn and cinnamon roasted almonds. Now that the students have flooded the streets of Ann Arbor, employees have started selling the cotton candy right outside the store where students can watch it being made.
Student input has been extremely valuable to the store’s success. To cater to a variety of student tastes, Sweet U set up a suggestion list and now boasts Habiro Raspberries and snap licorice. It sells plenty of the classic candy bars such as Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and Butterfinger found in vending machines for about the same price. In addition, the store ships in New York chocolates for people looking for a more expensive indulgence.
Students can also make a personalized bag from a large selection of sweets sold for $3.99 per half pound. Although stores such as Meijer offer similar candies for about half the price, Sweet U’s convenient location is the reason most students are overlooking the difference. Also, students like how all the candy is a uniform price, which makes buying an assortment simple, Siegfried said.
The store offers a few unique treats as well. It is the only place that serves soft frozen custard on this campus, according to El-Awar. Additionally, Sweet U’s large M&M candy dispenser offers 21 different colors of M&Ms. Similar in taste, they can be arranged to make a colorful and tasty gift. There is even a section with items like Balance Bars and Slim Fast products for the more health-conscious customers.
If that’s not enough, El-Awar has a lot more planned. In the next few weeks, the store will start selling homemade caramel apples and smoothies, and El-Awar said he would like to begin catering for parties. Still, he doesn’t forget the driving force behind the store.
“I’m open for suggestions, whatever the students want,” he said.