The scent of vanilla and butterscotch wafts through the air as “I Want Candy” by Bow Wow Wow plays over the speakers and wide-eyed customers appraise It’sugar, the newest addition to Chicago’s Magnificent Mile.
Covering over 11,400 square feet across Michigan Avenue, this extravagant candy store offers more than 400 types of sweets, guaranteeing satisfaction for all who enter.
The store’s neon yellow walls cast an upbeat glow as customers surround self-serve candy stations, filling plastic bags with gummy worms and jelly beans until satisfied.
Every corner of the store offers something new, from a timeline of Chicago’s candy history to international brands such as baked custard-flavored Kit-Kat’s, to Cadbury Dairy Milk.
Besides the seemingly endless stock of candy, It’sugar offers more than mere satisfaction for the tastebuds. Housing an 11-foot Ferris wheel display, jelly bean mosaic of the Chicago skyline, and 1,000 plus lollipop garden, it provides an aesthetic showcase to customers as they shop.
It’sugar General Manager Heather Manning expressed excitement for the company’s newest location.
“This is one of our larger stores, housing all the fun characters from Toucan Sam to Nerds, while also offering so many different brands,” Manning said. “Opening another store on the Magnificent Mile in the candy capital of the world has been surreal.”
Since the 1800s, Chicago has been the world’s largest candy producer, becoming the birthplace for iconic brands such as Snickers and Tootsie Roll, according to Chicago Loop Alliance.
A special aspect within It’sugar walls resides in its tribute to the windy city, selling bags filled solely with Chicago-made candy, offering a one-of-a-kind taste to the city where they were made.
“I think everybody wants to come to Chicago, even besides us being the third-largest city, we have so much to offer, from festivals, especially in the summer,” Manning said. “It’s not something other places can offer, and especially being on the Magnificent Mile, everybody has heard of it and now they can experience a delicious piece of it.”
Despite only being around for 15 years, It’sugar has made a name for itself, becoming one of the most extensive candy supplies globally, according to its website. The business currently owns over 100 stores across the United States.
Manning describes the store as unique compared to other sellers.
“We’re just a different brand of candy store,” Manning said. “You get to really feel like an adult being a kid in a candy shop. Overall, it’s an incredible environment that allows so much interaction with the public on top of an escape from everyday life.”
Alba Diaz, a tourist from Florida, says the store’s open doors and artfully crafted displays of lollipops, arranged as a three-tiered garden caught her attention.
“We were just passing by when my nephew insisted we go inside,” Diaz said. “I simply could not tell him no.”
Chicago native Susie Wassie expressed her appreciation regarding the store’s location.
“It’s close to where we live,” Wassie said, gesturing to her two young sons. “It makes it easy to stop by and grab a sweet treat whenever necessary.”
From champagne gummy bears to chocolate-covered Oreos, It’sugar offers the perfect gift or afternoon pick me up to all who enjoy the sweeter side of life.
“I just want individuals to remember and look forward to returning to our stores — whether they are from Chicago or merely in the city for a week, I want them always to come back,” Manning said.