Did you have a grandparent who used to take you to the old-fashioned candy store? Can you remember slowly picking out your favorite malt balls and hard candies, placing them carefully in a brown paper bag, and paying with a penny or a nickel?
The Candy Rush, the newly opened candy shop, ice cream parlor, and event space on Franklin Ave., will bring you back to your childhood with their carefully considered confections. Serving 13 different flavors of ice cream and more than 25 types of candy, The Candy Rush is a sweet tooth’s dream.
Co-owners Garnett Alcindor (the “candy girl”) and Kevin Phillip (the “ice cream fanatic”) noticed a need for more family establishments in this up-and-coming part of Crown Heights.
“I decided, let’s start something different for the neighborhood, something dealing with the kids, because everybody was coming for bars and restaurants,” Phillip said. “The block is coming up, the neighborhood is coming up. Why not doing something that’ll involve kids and parents?”
Kids and adults alike will feel at home at The Candy Rush. Order at the counter, then find a spot at three large tables in the lush back garden under a huge umbrella. Got little ones? There’s a play area out back full of toddler toys. Too hot to be outside? Grab a seat at one of four indoor tables or on the candy-filled bench in front of the store.
While The Candy Rush is definitely kid friendly, Alcindor has noticed that older customers have also had a hard time staying away.
“You see wives who come in and they go, ‘Don’t tell my husband I was here for ice cream again!’ We have husbands who creep. I’m like, ‘Where’s your wife?’ He says, ‘She doesn’t know I’m here!’ Some of the parents will come. ‘Where’s the kids?’ ‘At the sitter. We didn’t want to share our ice cream with them!’ I like the feeling of the adults being kids,” Alcindor laughed.
In addition to candy and ice cream, The Candy Rush serves waffles, iced coffee, mint iced tea, and specialty juices, all overseen by Chef Shani Porter. Their selections might seem too sweet for a store that opens early, but are people coming in for waffles and ice cream at 10:00AM?
“Ohhhhhhh yeah,” said Phillip.
Alcindor and Phillip’s roots in this neighborhood run deep; they own the building that houses The Candy Rush, and Phillip has been in business on Franklin Ave. for 13 years.
“I was one of the first, actually the first creative business on this avenue. I brought some flavor to it,” he said.
Since opening three weeks ago, business has been good. In return, they believe in doing their best to serve the neighborhood.
“The people who work here are from the community,” Alcindor said. "Strict rule: you’ve gotta be from the neighborhood. Because, it’s what it’s about! You can’t just come in and take from the neighborhood. You’ve gotta give back!”
They’ve also considered the neighborhood when it comes to pricing. The Candy Rush rents out space for birthday parties and other events, and at $400 for three hours, they hope to be accessible to the people who live and work nearby.
“They’re not here because they’re rich, they’re here because they want to be in the city, they want to be in a nice part of Brooklyn, and they want to make it, and you’ve still got to make things affordable. It makes sense,” said Alcindor.
The couple (they’re engaged to be married at the store in August) has several businesses between them, including a PR business, a company that teaches kids about social media etiquette, and the clothing store About Time across Franklin Ave. But when their previous tenant left the ground floor space in their building, the response they received from potential renters was so favorable that it made them take a second look.
“We were like, hold on!,” said Alcindor. “Whoa, is this what’s happening on Franklin Avenue? We didn’t realize that those were the offers that were being made. If they want to come in like that over here, what’s going to happen in the next year or two? Why not take the risk and try something ourselves?”
So far the risk is paying off, and Alcindor and Phillip said they’re having a great time. Their staff, made up of local employees and Summer Youth (a program run by the city to give young people job skills and work experience) is informed, attentive, and always cheerful, and the joy from these two dynamic business owners is rubbing off on their customers.
“This,” Alcindor said with a smile, “is a happy place.”
The Candy Rush, 733 Franklin Ave. between Sterling and Park. Phone: (718) 676-2028. Hours: Mon-Thurs 10am-10pm, Fri-Sat 10am-11pm, Sun 11am-6pm