For a Durham local, owning the Candy Bar is a dream come true

By Allison Bellucci, Design Editor

Allison Bellucci/Staff Chris andDonna Guerrette, the new owners of The Candy Bar in Downtown Durham, stand in from of one of the stores displays of candy.

Allison Bellucci/Staff
Chris and Donna Guerrette, the new owners of The Candy Bar in Downtown Durham.

Chris Guerrette didn’t have a second thought about purchasing The Candy Bar in downtown Durham. When he found out Karen Larson was selling her 2-year-old store, Guerrette considered it “an automatic buy.”

After retiring from 24 years in the military, Guerrette is now following his life-long dream of owning a candy shop along with his wife and high school sweetheart, Donna.

Guerrette has been following candy for about 30 years and is planning on incorporating his life findings into the store. One of the brands now sold at The Candy Bar, Heizer Truffles, is a favorite that Guerrette grew up with. Guerrette has also visited many of the factories where his candy choices are made.

“I’ve been to the [Jelly Belly] factory; I’ve been to a lot of the factories for these products. We are going to keep all of the gummies, but I am also bringing in Swedish gummies and salted liquorish, which is something a lot of people are asking for,” he said. “It’s not very common in the United States, but it’s delicious.”

Guerrette is very interested in family-owned companies that are focused on quality and handmade products.

“Hammond’s Candies, that’s a family company from Denver, Colorado, and I was in Denver for three years, and that’s how I learned about them,” he said. “Now, I’ve brought those candies in, they have a lot of different flavors, they’re pretty.”

Other local companies will continue to be incorporated in The Candy Bar’s selection. Guerrette is also focusing on having candy for every person, regardless of allergies.

“I’m focusing on a lot of gluten-free, no-GMO types of candy because a lot of people do ask for that,” he said.

The Candy Bar has drawn many people in. Durham Town Administrator and resident Todd Selig enjoys going downtown with his two daughters, ages 7 and 9, especially during the summer.

“It’s been a real attraction for the girls,” Selig said. “Our house is about a mile away, and in the summer we ride our bikes downtown. … The girls always find fun things here, and it’s a great place to find gifts for people.”

Guerrette explained how they get many younger kids in the store after they get out of school.

“It’s very popular for the younger kids in town to visit after school,” he said. “Four little girls sat on the floor right there and piled all of their change in a pile so they could buy a 5-pound gummy bear.”

One of the most anticipated questions UNH students may have about The Candy Bar is if the piano will stay outside the store’s large window. Guerrette was surprised to hear how popular it is among the students.

“We are thinking about it, definitely a possibility,” he said. “We are going to talk to the town about it.”

Follow Allison Bellucci at @missalliejean