A bounty of candy is headed to Oak Park courtesy of the Mason family. Patrick and Alycia Mason, along with their daughters Addison (11) and Campbell (8), are eager to bring Candycopia to a storefront in the historic Medical Arts building, 717 Lake St. Though they are still awaiting construction permit approvals, the forthcoming candy and ice cream shop is expected to open at the end of April and will be conveniently located across the lobby from a dentist’s office.
Eleven-year residents of Oak Park, Mason and his wife were looking for ways to invest in the community and often dreamed of opening a business “right down the street.” Inspired by visits to old fashioned candy shops while vacationing on Cape Cod, Mason began contemplating opening a similar sort of shop in Oak Park.
“I watched my kids run through the candy store and exclaim ‘Daddy, Daddy, look!’ and I started to ask myself how many more years I might have to witness this sort of unbridled joy,” said Mason. “Visiting the candy shop was really a highlight of those trips and I realized Oak Park needs to offer this kind of experience to residents and visitors.”
A decade ago, Mason stepped away from a fulltime career in corporate public relations and communications in favor of taking on part time freelance work and becoming the primary caregiver to his duo of daughters. Mason has the full support of his wife but admits his children “stoked the flames” on the idea of opening Candycopia.
“My friends are so excited about the shop,” said Campbell as she did a little twirl in the empty store front. “It will be filled with rainbow colored candy!”
A strong desire to feel like they were part of the fabric of the local business community led the Masons to their prime location in The Hemingway District near Lake Street and Oak Park Avenue. After completing minor renovations to the shop, the family aims to bring a new kind of candy store to the community.
Dedicated to cultivating a sense of curiosity, discovery and wonder in young children and the young at heart, Candycopia will offer sweets from a collection of diverse-owned, eco-conscious, small batch candy makers.
Upon entering the shop, visitors will discover a counter boasting 100 jars of colorful gummies in different shapes, sizes and colors, including some vegan options, sold by the pound. The shop will also carry tried-and-true candy favorites, traditional candies in unexpected flavors as well as harder to find retro candies that tap into the nostalgic nature of the business.
A carefully curated collection of artisan-made toffee, truffles, caramels and fudge will also be offered at Candycopia. A six-seat counter in the back will beckon guests to participate in immersive candy-flight experiences.
“If someone is a licorice nerd, we can put together a flight of three licorices made by artisans from different regions; if someone is super into caramels, we can put together a flight that shows the difference between burnt and creamy products,” said Mason. “We want to help people learn more about the candies they love by tasting them in a thoughtful way.”
The shop will also offer a small menu of “candy-forward” ice cream sundae creations featuring ice cream from Hershey’s Creamery (no relation to Hershey’s chocolate). Flavors like “graham central,” “banana pudding,” and “cotton candy” will form the base for a variety of candy toppings and sauces.
“We have a sundae called ‘Take Me Out to the Ball Game’ that will be topped with Baby Ruth chocolate bars and caramel corn said Addison. “And it has both caramel and chocolate sauces because a baseball game needs two teams.”
The Masons are committed to making Candycopia a joy filled space that welcomes everybody from any walk of life. As they wait for the permits to come through and construction to be completed, the family is working hard to discover candy-partners to celebrate at Candycopia — each selection they make is intended to bring a sense of wonder to their future customers.
“We want to be a place that raises up artisans by sharing back stories and celebrating their special products,” said Mason. “We see this shop as an opportunity to spread joy in the Oak Park community.”
Follow Candycopia on Facebook to stay up to date on their opening plans.