b. a. Sweetie Candy Company located near Cleveland, Ohio is the largest candy store in the United States. It is candy heaven. For kids it’s the stuff dreams are made of, for adults it’s a trip back to childhood. With more than 300,000 pounds of candy you’d be hard pressed to dream up a type of candy they don’t carry. With Valentine’s Day coming, I thought it a good idea to share with you the sugary happiness of Sweeties.
The candy company is housed in a 14,000 square foot location tucked away inconspicuously in a small shopping plaza on Brookpark Road in the city of Brooklyn, about a 15-minute drive from downtown Cleveland. They carry everything from popular national brands to hard-to-find regional and local candies, so you’ll find both newly-released products and the retro candy you ate when you were a kid (think Chick-O-Sticks, candy cigarettes, Black Jack licorice gum, Razzles, Fun Dip and Mallo Bars). Bulk candy, baking chocolate, battery-operated spinning suckers, bags of sugary banana heads . . . the list goes on and on.
Check it out for yourself and don’t forget to pick up something special for that someone special. –Submitted by CA
Sweeties Candy (7480 Brookpark Road, 216.739.2244) has gone through big changes since it started in 1950 as Bag-A-Sweet Candy, a store that delivered candy to local distributors. After branching out into area shopping malls in the ’80s, the company returned to a single storefront by the early ’90s. Now, the place is preparing to expand into the offices next door so that it will occupy a total of 18,000 square feet of retail space. “We need so much space and as much as we get once the expansion is done, it’ll be filled and we’ll probably be saying that we’re out of space again,” says vice president Judi Scheiman.
The family-run business offers a wild assortment of candies, including retro ones from the ’50s, ’60s, ’70s and ’80s. Shoppers can choose from a wall of PEZ dispensers, grab some wax lips, power down some Pixy Stix or savor a few gourmet jelly beans. “We go through different brokers,” Scheiman says. “We buy from 125 manufacturers, but we try to stick to things made in America. We want to support our country, but it’s hard because a lot of things are being made out of the country.” Sweeties’ clients include the hotel industry and food and beverage manufacturers and local restaurants that know the store has items they can’t find elsewhere. Expect to see an assortment of seasonal items for Halloween and Christmas (and, to a lesser extent, Valentine’s Day), making the stock appear even more impressive. “Because we have such a variety and so much of it and it’s stacked on the racks to the ceiling, people are amazed,” Scheiman says. “We just try to get as many fun items as we can.” – Submitted by Jeff Niesel
West of Cleveland, near the Lake Erie shores of Sandusky, there’s a supernatural sort of fun brewing. They call it Ghostly Manor and the spooky castle looms large off of U.S. Route 250, on Woodlawn Avenue near Oakland Cemetery. Visitors from all over the country come to explore 6000-square foot foot of high-startle, non-stop horror action thrills in 21 unique rooms at one of the best haunted houses in the United States.
“Our acclaimed haunt has recently received additional national recognition,” says owner/operator Bill Criscione, a lifelong Halloween enthusiast who opened the haunted house with his wife Jayme in 2001. “Just recently Ghostly Manor was recognized by Haunted Attraction Magazine as one of the ‘Top 25 Must-See Haunts in the United States’ and we’re proud of that honor. Also, Darkride and Funhouse Enthusiasts ranked us as one of their top ten walkthrough attractions for 2008.” And Ghostly Manor has been nationally ranked for the last five years, taking the number four spot the last two consecutive years.
The doors of Ghostly Manor rarely close (it is open year-round) and the mansion seems to grow more expansive and shuddersome every season (explore bedrooms, bathrooms, a nursery, dining room, kitchen, den, library and more than a few dark corners). Each room is haunted by live actors, state-of-the-art props, animatronics and lots of unexplained apparitions. “Each room in Ghostly Manor can scare you from at least four different places,” warns Criscione.
Another great weekend in Cleveland Plus! Halloween evening was a blast in Cleveland. Following dinner at My Friends restaurant (11616 Detroit Avenue), my best friend and I stopped in at Twist (11613 Clifton Boulevard). Our intention was to stay for only one drink, but then the Halloween costume contest started. Melissa Ross, one of Cleveland’s most well-known drag queens, served as emcee. She was a riot. I am glad that we stayed for such an entertaining evening.
Saturday was a nice day for an evening dinner out. My friend and I were in the mood for some good Asian cuisine, and Pearl of the Orient at Beachcliff Market Square in Rocky River, was just the answer. But, after a night on the west side, on Sunday it was off to the east side of the city. I had lunch at Tree Country Bistro, coffee at Phoenix Coffee Shop, and stopped in at Big Fun, the area’s best vintage toy store on Coventry Road in Cleveland Heights.
But that was just the start. Then it was a trip to University Circle to visit the Cleveland Museum of Art. As the museum is still undergoing a major renovation and expansion, only the original 1916 building is open right now. But the 1916 building’s paintings and galleries have been fully restored. Even only partially open, the Cleveland Museum of Art still provides one of the country’s best collections of the world’s best art. And in summer of 2009, the new East Wing will open with the entire museum’s grand reopening in 2012. Once again, Cleveland Plus provided lots to do in a single weekend. –CM
My best friend and I visited Cedar Point Saturday for the 12th annual HalloWeekends. It had been a few years since I had gone and I guess I’d forgotten what I was missing. This year there are 12 new Halloween attractions. Entertainment ranges from mild fun to wild scares and includes the Club Blood haunted house and the outdoor Terror Island and CornStalkers scarezones. For the younger kids, there is Planet Spooky, the Monster Midway Invasion Celebration Parade and other attractions.
What I love most about HalloWeekends is the ambiance created with the elaborate decorations throughout the park. Old rides and other memorabilia are used in some of the displays to pay homage to Cedar Point’s rich 139-year history—it’s the second oldest amusement park/resort in the country. And of course, Cedar Point’s 75 rides, including its record 17 roller coasters, are also included in the package!