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Seaside Candy & Ice Cream ... A Piece Of Heaven In Imperial Beach

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Posted: Friday, July 5, 2019 3:45 pm

Seaside Candy has a secret weapon to bring a smile to everyone’s face. Actually a number of secret weapons, whether it is ice cream, fudge, candy, a root beer float or specialty coffee. When you step into the store you feel like going back in time to your childhood with many nostalgia candy and toys.

Angela Frank who opened Seaside Candy in 2013, is also the owner and realtor at Palm West Realty next door. Frank was inspired to open an old fashioned candy store based on her memories of going to Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlor as a child and visiting an ice cream parlor about 45 minutes from her house. Seaside Candy started out as a candy store which offered a few varieties of fudge but with time the store has expanded its offerings. Last year it started selling ice cream as well. When West Coast Café closed last summer the coffeeshop crowd asked Frank if she would start serving coffee. That meant she had to open early in the morning, something she didn’t mind doing and jumped at the opportunity.

On a recent visit to Seaside Candy, Katie Bardo, the manager and master fudge maker was making a batch of fudge in a big kettle, right after putting the finishing touches on a tray of peanut butter fudge. When the kettle finished its work she gave me a spoon of hot fudge to taste and it was incredible - warm, sweet and satisfying. Then as she showed me around the store, she heard an alarm go off in the kitchen and she was back there, this time skewering apples which she later dipped in the kettle to make Fudge Kist. The kettle allows Bardo to make 33 pounds of fudge at a time.

For the past year, Bardo has been making fudge two to three times a week. “We have over 300 recipes and I make between 12 to 30 flavors. We go through a lot of fudge. We turn over the fudge so fast… I make about 120 pounds a week,” she said.

Bardo showed me all the fudges available during this visit, 16 to be exact, and pointed out some of the unusual ones she made. There is the Churro fudge, which the first time she made it, was sold within 24 hours, The Neapolitan, The Cherry Chocolate Walnut and Orange Vanilla. The more standard ones also available are Chocolate, Chocolate Walnut and Peanut Butter. She also makes Birthday Cake fudge which she recently decorated with Fourth of July colors making it a patriotic version. Fudge party trays can be ordered, as well as special fudge flavors. Seaside Candy offers a fudge deal: buy 4 get 2 free and you end up with one and a half pounds of fudge.

Recently Bardo has started making dipped confections and the store and will also be serving specialty ice cream treats like banana split and a Sundae so big it can easily feed seven people.

The bulk nostalgia candy takes up a whole wall of the store with treats like Abba Zaba, but saltwater taffy continues to remains the store’s big seller, said Bardo.

Coffee drinks are now available with choices like Americano, Latte, Caramel Macchiato and Mexican Mocha. “Mexican Mocha is our little secret. We also have Keto coffee for those following a Keto diet, made with a low carb, high fat coffee blended with heavy whipping cream, grass fed butter and coconut oil. Nobody around here offers it. People come in with their kiddos for ice cream but if they want something to fill them up for six hours they can have Keto Coffee” said Bardo.

Affogato is another tempting choice of coffee made with ice cream.

Seaside Candy offers 20 varieties of Thrifty ice cream plus a vanilla soft serve, milk shakes and floats.

An overhead TV screen was playing an episode of Happy Days during my visit and everywhere you look there is an old fashioned decor with a barrel, high stools and old signs.

Apart from the counter and seating in the main room, Frank has opened up a large room which was previously her realty office and created a large seating area for her customers. Frank offers the room free of charge for meetings of non-profits. Seaside Candy recently started hosting Open Mic and Karaoke night which has attracted big crowds from grandmothers to little kids. Frank loves to be able to cater to families. Groups like the Girl’s Scout Daisy Troop, Democratic and Republican clubs, Lion’s Club also meet at Seaside Candy.

“We notice that people don’t know we are here. A lot of the night life has been focused on the bar scene. There are not a lot of children’s places to go,” said Frank. “As a candy store we’re children focused, and military families and locals can go to free events…not travel far, not spend a lot of money and meet their neighbors,” explained Bardo.

“This is what the community needs, there is no place for the community to hang out,” said Frank.

Seaside Candy features a big outdoor patio where customers can enjoy their purchases sitting in comfortable chairs under big umbrellas. That patio is also the place where the morning coffee group gathers. “We are starting to see people catching on. We’re like fine wine, we’re getting better as we grow,” said Bardo.

Bardo likes to point out that not only is Seaside Candy owned by a woman, but other women who have businesses themselves work there. Bardo is one of them, being a Pampered Chef consultant. “We all share the common goal of making this store awesome…It’s the happiest place in IB,” she said.

Frank and co-worker Joanne Barrows recently went to the Sweet and Snack Expo in Chicago and brought new, cool ideas, said Bardo.

Since Frank has been the sole owner of Seaside Candy she has been able to put her own stamp on the store. “There are big changes coming. We’ll continue to evolve,” said Bardo.

Seaside Candy was recognized as California Business of the Month in October 2018 by the office of Sen. Ben Hueso.

Seaside Candy, 150 Palm Avenue. Call 619-500-5688. Hours: Mon.-Fri. 5:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sat. and Sun. 6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.

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