“We wanted to create a candy store for grownups,” begins Rosie O’Neill.
“Where grownups can feel like kids again,” Josh Resnick finishes the sentence.
After O’Neill went to see “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” on her third date with Resnick, she was inspired to launch a candy store. Since then, O’Neill and Resnick have gotten engaged. The two have also become co-owners of Sugarfina, a boutique candy store known for its exquisite sweet offerings, from 24K gold and champagne marshmallows to absinthe chocolate cordials. At the end of August, the two candy enthusiasts opened a new Sugarfina store in Santana Row with a launch party.
“This is our sixth Sugarfina store; there are three in Southern California, and now three in the Bay Area,” O’Neill says. “We love Santana Row because it has that neighborhood feel. We really like that it’s not just a mall, but a place you could spend your whole day in. We wanted to throw a party to celebrate our grand opening.”
At the party, employees offered glasses of champagne and candy samples. Flavorful fruits and spices emanated from apple pie jellies. Offering bites of cocktail bliss were the single malt scotch chocolate balls. A pleasant tartness accompanied the bubbly bears. The dark chocolate sea salt caramels were rich and comforting. The sugar lips jump-started taste buds with its sour finish.
Sugarfina’s cocktail-infused candy helps distinguish its brand from others.
“We really love the idea of cocktails and candy together, grown-up candy,” O’Neill says. “We have a whole line of cocktail candy, such as our single malt scotch chocolate balls, peach bellini gummies and the kir royale cordials. So some candies here are for those 21 and over. You have to be an adult to get those things, even if the candy [with alcohol] won’t get you buzzed.”
O’Neill adds that the store also carries natural candies for younger consumers.
“I think it’s important for kids to have candy without a lot of artificial colors and flavors and so we have natural candies and candies made with real fruit juice,” she says.
O’Neill says that she and Resnick started small when the company launched in August 2012. Their shared passion for sourcing high-quality candy motivated them to continue building their brand.
“We work with candy makers all around the world from countries, such as Finland, Denmark, Germany, Italy and Japan,” she says. “We do a lot of taste testing. There are wine sommeliers. We think of ourselves as candy sommeliers.”