The article you just read was brought to you by a few thousand dedicated readers. Will you join them?

Thanks for coming by The Tyee and reading one of many original articles we’ll post today. Our team works hard to publish in-depth stories on topics that matter on a daily basis. Our motto is: No junk. Just good journalism.

Just as we care about the quality of our reporting, we care about making our stories accessible to all who want to read them and provide a pleasant reading experience. No intrusive ads to distract you. No paywall locking you out of an article you want to read. No clickbait to trick you into reading a sensational article.

There’s a reason why our site is unique and why we don’t have to rely on those tactics — our Tyee Builders program. Tyee Builders are readers who chip in a bit of money each month (or one-time) to our editorial budget. This amazing program allows us to pay our writers fairly, keep our focus on quality over quantity of articles, and provide a pleasant reading experience for those who visit our site.

In the past year, we’ve been able to double our staff team and boost our reporting. We invest all of the revenue we receive into producing more and better journalism. We want to keep growing, but we need your support to do it.

Fewer than 1 in 100 of our average monthly readers are signed up to Tyee Builders. If we reach 1% of our readers signing up to be Tyee Builders, we could continue to grow and do even more.

If you appreciate what The Tyee publishes and want to help us do more, please sign up to be a Tyee Builder today. You pick the amount, and you can cancel any time.

Support our growing independent newsroom and join Tyee Builders today.
Canada needs more independent media. And independent media needs you.

Did you know that most news organizations in Canada are owned by just a handful of companies? And that these companies have been shutting down newsrooms and laying off reporters continually over the past few decades?

Fact-based, credible journalism is essential to our democracy. Unlike many other newsrooms across the country, The Tyee’s independent newsroom is stable and growing.

How are we able to do this? The Tyee Builder program. Tyee Builders are readers who chip into our editorial budget so that we can keep doing what we do best: fact-based, in-depth reporting on issues that matter to our readers. No paywall. No junk. Just good journalism.

Fewer than 1 in 100 of our average monthly readers are signed up to be Tyee Builders. If we reach 1% of our readers signing up to be Tyee Builders, we could continue to grow and do even more.

If you appreciate what The Tyee publishes and want to help us do more, please sign up to be a Tyee Builder today. You pick the amount, and you can cancel any time.

Support our growing independent newsroom and join Tyee Builders today.
We value: Our readers.
Our independence. Our region.
The power of real journalism.
We're reader supported.
Get our newsletter free.
Help pay for our reporting.
Culture
  |  
Food

There’s a Sucker Sold Every Minute

At Ricardo’s Kandy Korner, opened in June by an enigmatic cannabis accessories store owner from Afghanistan, business is booming.

Vaishnavi Dandekar 28 Jul 2021 | TheTyee.ca

Vaishnavi Dandekar is a graduate student at the UBC School of Journalism, Writing and Media. Her love for food and telling stories about it has drawn her to food reporting. Find her on Instagram @vaishnavi_dandekarr.

As a kid, Nina Schuchort was a picky eater who didn’t like to eat her vegetables. Her parents’ quick fix to this problem was to offer a reward if she finished her plate: a single, limited-edition Neon Oreo, jammed full of colourful green, blue or orange crème.

“Sugary foods were a big no-no in my diet,” Schuchort says. “My parents allowed me one cookie.”

When Schuchort, now 34, recently visited Ricardo’s Kandy Korner on Marine Drive in White Rock, it had been years since she’d thought about the cookie, which she remembers as having been discontinued about 28 years ago. (The Tyee sadly hasn’t yet heard back from Mondelēz International, Nabisco’s parent company, for official confirmation.)

Ricardo’s Kandy Korner features a slushie machine, a hard-to-find-cereal selection and a seemingly never-ending bulk candy wall. In the centre of the store, a flower wall with Astroturf and neon script reading, “Sugar High” sits, Instagram-ready, waiting for customers to pose with their finds.

Schuchort’s eyes fell on an Oreo cookie packet that brought her straight back to childhood: Lady Gaga Oreos, featuring pink-hued cookies stuffed with green crème. A QR code on the bottom of the packet invites the buyer to make personal recordings, convert them into Gaga-themed musical messages of kindness and send them to loved ones.

“This time, I didn’t need my parents’ approval,” says Schuchort, who took two packs home.

The eponymous Ricardo, an immigrant from Afghanistan, moved to White Rock in 2001. Before opening the Kandy Korner, he owned a cannabis accessories store called Sunlight that also carried snacks and sodas.

Last month, he split the candy sales off into their own store; Ricardo’s Kandy Korner instantly took the title of Metro Vancouver’s biggest candy store.

851px version of BulkCandyWall.JPEG
The bulk candy wall reminds customer Nina Schuchort of a much more elaborate version of her childhood 7-Eleven. Photo courtesy of Ricardo’s Kandy Korner.
851px version of KandyKornerCandy.JPEG
The author of this story may have purchased some Chick-fil-A sauce to take home after writing this story. Photo courtesy of Ricardo’s Kandy Korner.

A modern-day Willy Wonka, Ricardo Rizae takes a curator’s eye to candy, aiming to stock the shelves with rarer offerings and those recalling street hype and pop culture. Dunkin’ Donuts cereal, “stapler in a jello” strawberry jelly (straight from The Office), and Chick-fil-A secret sauce are just some of the things you can find.

Open from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m., the store’s hours indicate the type of crowd it hopes to draw. Kiernan Bailey, Ricardo’s PR and social media manager, says things pick up after 5 — drawing customers looking for their perfect “drunk treat.”

Many of the Kandy Korner’s customers, including Schuchort, come from a loyal customer base Ricardo built at Sunlight.

“The idea for this store was just winged,” Ricardo says.

But it’s clear that street hype culture plays an important role — and though Ricardo’s Kandy Korner and Sunlight aren’t connected, it’s not unprecedented for cannabis culture to percolate through to snacks.

Vancouver’s Dank Mart was opened right next door to THC Canada in South Vancouver, selling imported snacks and cannabis accessories.

Other businesses, like Dario Torres and Taylor Trachtenberg’s the Super Snack Store in New York, make the link between hype culture and snacks explicit: “I know this is crazy,” Torres told Highsnobiety in 2019, “but $25 for a soda that you can only get in a Chinese vending machine is cool.”

Other shoppers, like Nina Schuchort, are less interested in hype — and more interested in the sweet, nostalgic memories candy can evoke.

“It reminds me of my childhood when I used to go to 7-Eleven, and we would get one small bag to fit in our favourite treats from the candy wall,” says Schuchort. “But I don’t remember seeing as many flavour choices as Ricardo’s.”

The second time The Tyee chatted with Schuchort, she was back in White Rock and on her way to visit Ricardo’s Kandy Korner with her mom. She’s been back several times since attending the store’s grand opening party on June 18.

And she’s not the only one: business is booming. Ricardo has restocked most of the items on his shelves four times so far.

“It’s become a custom for my mom and I to pick up tons of goodies every time I visit her in White Rock,” Schuchort says.

While some shoppers manage to step away with a single pack of Oreos or some Funfetti icing, most find themselves enticed into dropping a wad of cash — either on a giant $40 Pez dispenser, the shop’s most expensive offering, or, like its first-ever customer, a somewhat jaw-dropping list of candy must-haves totalling $130.  [Tyee]

Read more: Food

Share this article

The Tyee is supported by readers like you

Join us and grow independent media in Canada

Facts matter. Get The Tyee's in-depth journalism delivered to your inbox for free.

Tyee Commenting Guidelines

Comments that violate guidelines risk being deleted, and violations may result in a temporary or permanent user ban. Maintain the spirit of good conversation to stay in the discussion.
*Please note The Tyee is not a forum for spreading misinformation about COVID-19, denying its existence or minimizing its risk to public health.

Do:

  • Be thoughtful about how your words may affect the communities you are addressing. Language matters
  • Challenge arguments, not commenters
  • Flag trolls and guideline violations
  • Treat all with respect and curiosity, learn from differences of opinion
  • Verify facts, debunk rumours, point out logical fallacies
  • Add context and background
  • Note typos and reporting blind spots
  • Stay on topic

Do not:

  • Use sexist, classist, racist, homophobic or transphobic language
  • Ridicule, misgender, bully, threaten, name call, troll or wish harm on others
  • Personally attack authors or contributors
  • Spread misinformation or perpetuate conspiracies
  • Libel, defame or publish falsehoods
  • Attempt to guess other commenters’ real-life identities
  • Post links without providing context

LATEST STORIES

The Barometer

What Issue Is Most Important to You This Election?

Take this week's poll