Located in the heart of Boyertown Pennsylvania the Peppermint Stick Candy Store features a wide variety of old fashion penny candies, chocolates, and hand dipped ice cream.
Owner Rachael Kehler worked for a catering company prior to opening the business. She had the idea after seeing the success of the Colebrookdale Railroad located just down the street.
“This is a community I want to be a part of and help build” says Kehler.
In the beginning, Kehler took it upon herself to reach out and visit other candy stores within the region to get a firsthand look at what it means to own a candy store.
This was invaluable to Kehler, many of the business owners she talked with were more than willing to share their knowledge of the industry.
Now with her new location on East Philadelphia Ave in Boyertown, Kehler is one of Boyertown’s most popular businesses. However, it didn’t happen overnight, Kehler has put a lot of hard work into not only building her business but working to bring the community of Boyertown closer together.
Being in business for three years Kehler has seen a lot of customers walk through the doors.
From kids to adults everyone loves picking out a small treat from the wall of penny candies. Memories are what make customers smile, Kehler explains. “50-60-year-old men come in to our store and act like little school kids, they’re so excited to see the classic candy.”
Kehler says the best part is hearing the stories customers tell about the classic candies. Overtime, Kehler found that she didn’t just own a candy store, she in some ways owns a time machine, transporting her customers back to their childhood.
Looking to create new memories with customers Kehler brought on Amanda Murray, an intern from Boyertown Area Senior High School has given Kehler the latitude to expand her website and locally hosted events. Working on the events, Murray has managed to expand Peppermint Stick’s Gummy Bear Fever, Leprechaun Hunt, and Candy Land Extravaganza.
Candy Land Extravaganza is a life size candy land game held throughout the store. Spaces began outside of the store with each area a new game for customers to play. Kehler say she usually sees a few hundred people turn out to play the games, take photos and enjoy the day.
Memories aren’t the only reason customers stop in. The candy industry is always coming up with new and unique sweets, and in the wake some classic brands are put in jeopardy of going out of production.
The recent Necco Wafer crisis has left people across the country looking for the multicolored wafers. As a distributor, Kehler has seen an uptick in sales due to the headlines. “Normally we would only sell a box a month, but now we get calls all the time from people looking for more.”
Giving back is important to Kehler, which is why a few years ago she developed a program designed to ship candy to the troops overseas.
Each year, the week of Memorial Day, Kehler sets out a jar next to her register. Each time a customer spends a dollar she adds a piece of candy to the pile. Over the years Kehler has donated over 13 pounds of candy to various military supporting foundations.
Kehler was inspired to develop ‘Candy for the Troops’ from her brother in law who is a retired Marine stationed in Iraq. “He said having a piece of candy in your mouth covers up the taste of the sand” Kehler said.
Hard candy is something they asked for. Spearmints, Root Beer Barrels, and butter scotch candy are the most popular. “I’ve had customers who pick out 2lbs of candy to add to the bucket in the past”.
For Kehler, owning a candy shop isn’t just about the sweets, it’s about building a sense of community in Boyertown.