The first year of business tastes good for gourmet candy shop Lolli and Pops.
Theresa Leflore is “chief candyologist” (aka general manager) at Lolli and Pops in Woodland Hills Mall.
Woodland Hills Mall is not typically what most have in mind when searching for a journey back in time. But with the opening of the Lolli and Pops store, some are finding themselves in what they describe as a scene straight out of “Alice in Wonderland” or “Harry Potter.”
The store, designed to look like an old English apothecary, draws visitors to another dreamlike world — their childhood.
Tulsa has become the first city to satisfy its sweet tooth with the gourmet candy store, and the owner, Sid Gupta, says he expects his candy land to grow as more adults find time to come out and play.
“I’ve seen (visitors) from 4-year-olds to 90-year-olds,” Gupta says. “When people have their favorite candy, it brings them back to a special place. It’s a powerful emotion that takes you back to when you were a kid.”
Tulsans received their first taste of the store in February. Gupta says the candy industry and Oklahomans were ready for a more gourmet and whimsical candy store, which
happens to be equipped with chalkboard signage, chocolate truffles and a service window where customers can buy decadent cupcakes.
“When we thought about creating this special new concept store, it was natural for us to want to do it somewhere locally — somewhere we understood the customers, and somewhere we thought people would really appreciate what we’re doing,” says Gupta, who is originally from California but has spent a lot of time in Oklahoma City.
The store includes a Wonka gumball room, a giant gummy bear statue and soda pop in flavors from root beer to bacon.
Additionally, Gupta has brought in candies from all over the world — Belgian chocolates and Australian licorice, to name a couple, as well as English, German and French candies. The store also carries made-in-Oklahoma pralines and provides monthly entertainment, including a magician and musicians.
After a successful first year, Gupta’s second Lolli and Pops store unwraps this month in Oklahoma City, with plans for several others to open throughout the country next year.
Theresa Leflore, the general manager or “chief candyologist,” says the store’s early success stems from more than its products.
“It’s more of an experience store than just a bulk candy store,” she says.
On the contrary, in the candy industry, most companies sell candy as an afterthought — something a customer grabs on the way out of the supermarket, Gupta says.
“They forgot the romance of candy and how powerful it is.”