The sweet smell of nostalgia
Candy stores offer handmade, old-fashioned treats for every age

By Catherine Jozwik - Special to Conley News Service

Dec. 19, 2018

Jim and Tawnya Shanklin, owners of Waukesha sweet shop Allo! Chocolat, offer handmade artisan chocolates and traditional goodies such as caramels and tortue
(French for turtle).
Submitted photo

Browsing a candy counter at a local confectionery and breathing in the heavenly scent of chocolate brings nostalgic delight to people of all ages.

The metro Milwaukee area is home to a number of independently owned and operated candy stores, which offer friendly service. Many make products on site. From truffles and chocolate figurines to Jujubes and rock candy, these confectioneries offer sweet treats to satisfy nearly all taste buds.

Candyman on Main, 121 N. Main St. in West Bend, has been a staple of the city’s downtown for almost 40 years.

Owners Bill Laufer and Tom Meurer (whose family owned Meurer Brothers Bakery) purchased the business about a decade ago, but the shop, with its candy counters and black-and-white tile floor, still retains a nostalgic vibe.

Candyman sells holiday truffles, chocolate soldiers and stars, sea salt caramels, and classic candies like Jujubees and candy raisins. One of the store’s newest offerings is the wildly popular edible peppermint-flavored shot glass. The shop also carries nuts and cheese popcorn, and ice cream in the summertime.

Laufer, who considers Candyman to be “one of the last old-fashioned candy stores,” makes it a mission to offer personalized service to his customers. The shop is happy to customize any gift box, be it for a child, relative, friend or corporate client.

Laufer noted that this type of service can’t be found on the Internet.

“We call this ‘the Candyman experience,’” he added.

Owners Tom Meurer, left, and Bill Laufer are seen through a display glass of chocolates as they pose for a photo at the Candyman on Main in West Bend.
File photo

Allo! Chocolat, 234 W. Main St. in Waukesha, 262544-8030, carries handmade artisan chocolates, caramel apples, and other goodies, among them sea salt and regular caramels, and tortue (French for “turtle” or “tortoise”).

“These are the old standbys everybody loves,” said Tawnya Shanklin, who owns Allo! Chocolat with her husband, Jim. The couple purchased the business from Roger and Carrie Igielski in 2017.

Allo! Chocolat also sells festive gift boxes and baskets, gift cards, and gift certificates good for classes, including “Ganache 101” and “Small Batch Desserts.”

The holidays “are our biggest and busiest time,” added Shanklin. Allo! Chocolat maintains an online presence and ships items nationwide. For information on candy and classes, visit

Red Elephant Chocolate, 333 N. Broadway St., Milwaukee, 414-431-5509, sells a variety of handmade chocolates, including specialty truffles (even cheddar cheese!) chocolate figurines, and snacks including cheese popcorn.

A variety of confections is available at Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory in Delafield.
Submitted photo

Indulgence Chocolatiers sells handmade artisan truffles and specialty chocolates. The shop, which also offers wine, cheese and chocolate-pairing classes, has three locations, 211 S. 2nd St. in Milwaukee, 414-223-0123, 6538 W. North Ave. in Wauwatosa, 414-323-4200, and 4525 N. Oakland Ave. in Shorewood, 414-332-2749. For more information, visit Wauwatosa contains three candy stores within about a mile radius, one of which opened nearly a century ago.

Ultimate Confections, 820 N. 68th St., has been in business since 1990 and in its current space since 1994.

Located within a cluster of quaint shops in Wauwatosa’s Jacobus Park neighborhood, the shop customizes gift boxes for customers and sells many holiday tins.

“We’re always trying to do something new,” said Pat Murphy, who co-owns Ultimate Confections with Lori Pressler.

For more information, call 414-778-0636, or visit

Since 1919, Niemann’s Candies and Ice Cream, 7475 Harwood Ave., 414-7744940, has been creating treats your parents and grandparents grew up with, using old family recipes.

Fairy food, hand-pulled candy canes, caramel turtles, almond butter toffee, and rum balls are among the shop’s popular treats. Niemann’s also carries nuts and holiday gift box sets.

Tabal Chocolate, 7515 Harwood Ave., 414-585-9996, opened its doors in April 2017.

Tabal (Mayan for “relationship”) produces its own chocolate using cocoa beans sourced from Mexico and Central and South America. The shop partners with many local businesses and international nonprofit organizations.

The shop also serves hot chocolate, coffee and espresso drinks, and sells gift packages, mugs, T-shirts. For budding chocolatiers, Tabal offers a variety of chocolate-making classes.

For more information on classes, or to place an order, visit online at