There’s a simple solution for almost all of life’s problems, and it’s called candy. Old Port Candy Co. has been dishing up sugary therapy for Portlanders and visitors alike since 2002, one jelly bean, gummy bear and piece of delicious fudge at a time.
When you walk inside Old Port Candy Co., you are first greeted with a wall of nostalgia candy, bringing back happy memories of sugary indulgences from childhood. From Mary Janes to Twizzlers to Atomic Hot Balls to Candy Necklaces to Pop Rocks, Old Port Candy has almost any old-timey candy you can think of.
Owner Anna Largay founded Old Port Candy in 2002 and is a self-professed life-long candy fanatic. In the early days it was Anna working seven days a week in the shop, other than Thanksgiving and Christmas. Today Old Port Candy is thriving, and four employees help Anna in her quest to bring candy to the masses.
The busy season for Old Port Candy changes, with Valentine’s Day the busiest day of the year, December 17-24 the busiest week, and summer the busiest season. While the tourists certainly make summer the boom months in the shop, Anna says it’s her regulars who are really the backbone of her business. Soon after opening her doors she developed a loyal following, many of who made a visit to Old Port Candy a daily ritual.
“I have one person who comes in every day for a chocolate-covered pretzel, and another woman who comes by daily to buy exactly three malted milk balls,” said Anna. “When I asked her why she doesn’t just buy a whole bag, she answered that she couldn’t help but overindulge, so she just comes in for her daily fix – 3 malted milk balls at a time.”
The chocolate case is full of delicious sweets, including truffles, needhams, and turtles, and chocolate-covered cookies, blueberries, whoopie pies and more! Their bulk section is the stuff candy addict fever dreams are made of, with row after row of jelly beans, licorice, gummi candy, Boston Beans and much, MUCH more. Anna says people love the selection, and the ability to hone in on exactly what they love the most to buy and take home. Anna says some of the most popular bulk candy items include the Jelly Belly jelly beans and licorice.
Our personal favorite is the ever-changing selection of fudge, which is all made right in the store. There are typically at least a dozen flavors to choose from at any given time, ranging from classics like chocolate, peanut butter and maple walnut, to more eclectic selections such as cayenne & wine, and sea salt & bacon. In the fall, pumpkin flavors such as pumpkin pie cheesecake and pumpkin pie chocolate are hugely popular.
“While we always have our classics, I like to be able to experiment,” said Anna. “We typically will sell over 100 flavors in a given year, although many are limited-time offerings, such as our watermelon flavor we tried out for summer, and the Moxie flavor, which was a big hit.”
Anna comes up with many of the fudge flavors herself, but some are the result of customer suggestions. The fudge is also a very popular gift item, particularly for corporate gift giving, or for folks visiting from the cruise ships who want something small and easy to carry that they can bring back as a gift. Ask for a sample if you are struggling to make your decision on what flavor to purchase. Or just buy a box!
Asked what a typical reaction is for someone visiting the shop for the first time Anna smiles and says, “It really is like a kid in a candy store. The nostalgia candy definitely catches people attention since we have such a variety, and many types of candy a person may not have seen in years.”
Old Port Candy really hits that, forgive the pun, sweet spot. It’s perfect for downtown workers looking for a mid-afternoon sugar fix, and is also a great place to pick up some sweet treats as a gift for an anniversary, Mother’s Day, Easter, Halloween, wedding favors, you name it. I’ve been fortunate enough to sample their Valentine’s Day chocolate-dipped strawberries and can safely say they are NOT to be missed. Old Port Candy also makes a fun destination for out-of-town visitors because first, hello, candy is delicious, but also because of the variety of Maine-themed sweets, such as whoopie pies, needhams, gummi lobsters and chocolate-covered blueberries
Next time you feel the urge for some Razzles, Necco Wafers, Mike and Ikes, or chocolate-covered Oreos, you know where to go – Old Port Candy!