Middlebury Sweets Pairs Candy Cornucopia With Hotel Rooms | Food and Beverage Features | Seven days
“We respond to the child in you,” reads the sign outside a rather modest orange motel at 1395 Route 7 in Middlebury. Once inside, visitors understand instantly. It’s a candy destination worthy of Willy Wonka: two colorful rooms overflowing with chocolates, gummies, candies and taffy.
Rows of shelves showcase every candy imaginable, including 87 flavors of candy, from Birthday Cake Remix to Chilean Mango; 67 varieties of gummies, from giant gummy fried eggs to gummy lobsters; and 52 types of taffy, from caramel corn to maple bacon. Even M&M’s come in unusual color options, including teal and cream.
Wooden bins hold lollipops and Tootsie Rolls galore; plastic tubs offer many different types of chocolate covered nuts. Wander around the corners of the orange and white painted store to find Harry Potter-themed candy and Vermont maple syrup.
Blanca Jenne opened Middlebury Sweets 11 years ago when she noticed that the two cases of sweets in her scrapbook shop were selling out faster than the scrapbooking materials. At the time, his scrapbook-turned-confectionery shop was on Ossie Road in East Middlebury.
Her husband, Brad Jenne, owned a U-Haul and self-storage business in East Middlebury. In 2017 the couple decided a storefront on Route 7 would attract more visitors passing through Middlebury. They bought the old Greystone Motel to turn it into a motel and candy store.
Brad suggested using a candy theme to decorate the motel rooms, Blanca said. “I went crazy with it once he got the idea planted in my head,” she said. Seven days.
Each of the nine bedrooms features candy-inspired pillows and framed prints and, of course, a dish of candy on the bedside table. “[It is] subtly done, though,” Blanca said. “Nothing over the top.”
Even before the switch to Route 7, she planned to make Middlebury Sweets a destination.
“We researched and made sure we were the biggest candy store in Vermont,” she said. “That was our selling point.”
It relies on eight distributors to get all the flavors sold by companies such as Albanese in Indiana, Taffy Town in Utah and Jelly Belly in California. The store is filled with hundreds of small bins to dispense each variety of candy.
“When we go to sell something, we try to transport most if not all [the company] a – even the more unusual ones that are harder to find,” she said.
Blanca also sells candy made by South Burlington’s Birnn Chocolates of Vermont and candies she makes in the store. Hers include milk or dark chocolate creams, chocolate clusters, chocolate bark and brittle peanuts.
The most popular of the homemade items, however, are the Jumbo Peanut Butter Cups. “[They are] much better than Reese’s, or so many told me. I think they are too,” she said with a laugh.
The shop attracts a mix of tourists and locals of all ages. Blanca’s favorite part of running the store is watching the adults browse the candy aisles.
“They’re just as fun to watch as kids are,” she said.