Andy’s Candy Apothecary has been one of Sacramento’s hottest candy stores in recent years. They also happen to be sold at B Street Theatre. Artistic Associate Sean Patrick Nill sat down with the owner of the store, Andy Paul, to discuss his store and the collaboration he’s had with B Street Theatre.
How did Andy’s Candy Apothecary begin? How long did it take to obtain the success you now have?
Andy: I’ve always been very passionate about seeking out cool and unusual candy and high quality chocolate. It’s been a hobby of mine my entire life. The business started in 2013, with the help of a downtown competition [called Calling All Dreamers] for new small businesses. We won and were granted some startup business services, as well as free rent for a year. We entered the competition with an idea, but the process helped us shape it into a solid reality. And the business has grown every year since we’ve begun.
How did B Street Theatre and your candy store’s collaboration begin?
We were fans of B Street–we attend often–and a good friend of ours, Bill Blake, was the Managing Director. He came to us because he wanted to bring something a little extra special to concessions, to raise the quality of what they were offering.
How in the world do you make those dark chocolate sea salt caramel balls? Those are my favorite.
We don’t make them! This is a common misconception of our store. My specialty is finding all of the most high quality confections and chocolates from all over and assembling them into one amazing collection in our shop. This way we aren’t limited by what I could make. Instead I try many, many different things and then I handpick only the best items for our shop.
The Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Caramels are made by a wonderful company called Marich. They make a high quality caramel, which is rolled into balls, then tossed with a luscious dark chocolate in panning machines that gradually give them a smooth even coat of chocolate.
How do you feel about the amount of growth Sacramento has been through in the past couple of years?
It’s been super exciting. I’ve lived in Sacramento since 2001 and have been watching it take off. The food scene especially is showing incredible acceleration. I’m a foodie (for all kinds of things, not just sweets), so I love all the new chefs and their restaurants. And this also leads to new candy makers popping up, too, which is good for our business–we love featuring local quality candy makers, and strive to carry a lot of locally made products.
How important is it that local businesses support each other?
Critical. Sacramento is too small to make trouble by acting too territorial or competitive. I was pleased to find that the downtown business community was super welcoming of us. There’s definitely a feeling of “we’re all in this together.”
What has been your favorite B Street Theatre Production over the years?
I loved the Jack Gallagher production, Five Songs. And then way back, there was a show whose name I can’t remember. It was about two sort of eccentric brothers living in an old house. I don’t remember much more about it, except that the characters did an amazing job living inside their characters.
What’s the best part of being a candy maker? Sorry, I mean Candy Curator?
A few great things:
One, Since I’m a passionate consumer of candy, I love having an enormous collection of the world’s greatest hits of candy and chocolate around me at all times.
Two, I like making people happy, and the candy and chocolates in our store do that–because everything is chosen because it’s uniquely great. So beyond the normal delight you get from sweets, we hear lots of surprised squeals and “Ooooh, that’s AMAZING!” from our customers.
Lastly, I get free samples from new candy makers! Companies reach out to me all the time and say, “your shop looks great and might be a great fit for our candy. May we send you some samples?” I say, YES, and then a few days later, an amazing box of candy arrives. I never get tired of that.