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A little Clintonville chocolate shop is offering big flavors

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I walked into the Colonial Candy Shoppe on High Street in Clintonville during a sugar fast (don’t ask). Bad idea, because the sumptuous chocolate delights displayed were mighty tempting. Thanks to the owner John Durst, a lifelong resident of Clintonville, I was severely tested. “You can’t come in here without sampling the chocolates,” Durst said. My sugar fast quickly turned into a sugar rush.

Colonial Candy has been around for five decades, having moved to its current location in 2001. Now owned by John, his wife Stacey, and their 16-year- old son Tanner, Colonial has been more of a local stewardship than an ownership. (The Dursts are the shop’s fourth owners, after purchasing it in 2015.)

While love of candy brought the Dursts to Colonial, it’s just part of their story. So, how exactly does a professor at Ohio Wesleyan (John), an employee of Battelle (Stacey), and a high school student (Tanner), who have no experience in chocolate and candy other than eating it, get into owning a candy store?

Photos: Rebecca Tien

“We would shop here at the Saturday morning farmer’s market, and we’d come in here [to Colonial Candy],” Durst said. “One day we came in to get some chocolate and we saw this yer saying the store was for sale. We laid the flyer down in our house for two months and never thought about it. Until one day we wondered what she wanted. We asked. The price was right, and we bought it.”

Even though the Dursts have day jobs (and school), they all pitch in to keep things running. And in the summer, when they add ice cream to the menu, they employ local high school and college students. “We bought the store in part because my wife and I worked through high school and we wanted our son to do the same,” Durst said. “We also wanted to do something in the community and for the community since it has done so much for us.”

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Stability is what Colonial Candy is all about. And nothing is more solid than the relationship Colonial shares with Haggy’s, the Canton- based candy and chocolate manufacturer and retailer that’s been around since 1923. It’s a name with cache among chocolate lovers, and Durst sees them as the key to people coming back for more. “I don’t think they have changed [what they make] since they first started,” he said. “We wouldn’t have bought the business without them being a part of this.”

Durst doesn’t proclaim to be a chocolate expert like Willy Wonka, but he thinks the chocolate just “hits the right notes.” In January the shop transitions from peppermint season into selling more traditional flavors— though if you can sample the French Mint, a pink-colored dark chocolate peppermint, it’s delicious any time of year. Chocolate-covered peanuts or pecans and standard milk chocolate caramel are always popular go-tos.

There’s hard candy lining the side of the store, with the signature Haggy’s wrapped chocolate candies prominently displayed straight ahead as you walk in. The Durst family also supports local Clintonville authors by displaying their books for customers to purchase when available.

Colonial Candy’s website states: We want to be a place where you can enjoy candy and be welcomed as a friend. A place that evokes memories and creates new ones. And we want to be a strong advocate for Clintonville. This is our home.

Feeling welcomed, I indulged as Durst had encouraged. All told, I broke my sugar fast with six pieces of delicious chocolate: two milk chocolate caramels, a chocolate-covered pecan, two coconut cream chocolates and one brownie cream chocolate. And I’ll be honest—it was pretty sweet.

Colonial Candy is located at 3519 N High St. in Clintonville

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Food & Drink

Five places to snag a donut today

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Forgetting about Memorial Day isn’t as much a sign of how irrelevant the calendar has become as compared to this following anecdote from a cherished local business. 

When talking to the owner of Buckeye Donuts about its National Donut Day plans, it didn’t dawn on him until a few days ago that he needed to start preparing for the holiday. Now, Buckeye Donuts is more than prepared, assuming a 10 p.m. curfew, which will keep the 24/7 campus spot from operating out of its original pocket.

The following list consists of five places where you can get your donut fix on Friday.

Buckeye Donuts

A local and campus establishment for 51 years, Buckeye Donuts will again be pulling out all the stops; that is, as much as they can. Being a 24-7 establishment, Buckeye Donuts has layers of bakers on deck prepared to do big bakes every eight or so hours with all sorts of varieties and specialities to indulge in.

Duck Donuts

Duck Donuts wants to promote kindness throughout the community this Friday. Whatever way you order, you’ll be treated to a free cinnamon sugar donut, at participating locations.

Amy’s Donuts

No purchase necessary, Amy’s Donuts is offering a free bag of cake donut holes, while supplies last.

Dunkin’ Doughnuts

Stop by any participating Dunkin’ and you’ll be given a free donut with any beverage purchase.

Krispy Kreme Doughnuts

All week Krispy Kreme has been spreading donut kindness. If you place an order with them today, you'll receive a free donut. The promo started on June 1.

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Food & Drink

National Cognac Day: with a Royal Twist

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**SPONSORED**

Happy National Cognac Day! We partnered up with Rémy Cointreau and local bartender, Ben Griest, from Giuseppe’s Ritrovo to present to you... the Royal Sazerac! Ben has shown us a thing or two about making speciality cocktails - today he's making the Royal Sazerac, fit for a King and/or Queen.

The Royal Sazerac is well-known in the cocktail world as America's first cocktail. Also known as New Orleans' official cocktail, Remy Cointreau stands out offering its aromatic richness - making the Royal Sazerac an outstanding premium cocktail.

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Food & Drink

Condado Tacos open in select locations after closing its doors Tuesday

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Condado Tacos is open once again after closing its doors to the public Tuesday following an employee walkout Monday night. Polaris and Clintonville locations remain closed until further notice.

Employees at the Polaris location walked out Monday after refusing to fulfill a catering order by the Ohio Highway Patrol, according to a press release from Condado Tacos Wednesday. The employees who walked out were given the opportunity to not work on the order, without repercussion, if they didn’t feel comfortable, according to a statement provided by Linda Powers, Condado Tacos director of marketing.

The order by the Highway Patrol was placed at the Condado Tacos Polaris location on the fifth-straight day of George Floyd protests in Columbus. Floyd’s death was ruled a homicide following an incident where a Minneapolis police officer placed deadly force on Floyd’s neck with his knee. The incident has sparked protests across the country, including Columbus.

After reaching out to Condado’s PR agency over email, the contact stated that their team has “parted ways” with the business. 

Wednesday’s statement by Condado says they “value different points of view,” but, “choosing not to serve a particular group, in this case law enforcement officers, in itself is discrimination and goes against our core values to welcome and serve everyone.”

Read the full statement here.

Read Tuesday evening’s two-part post on Condado’s Facebook page below:

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