Lolli and Pops, an upscale candy store that opened in Bellevue Square, has effectively enticed sugary cravings on the Eastside. Since the store first opened in late August, the biggest challenge has been keeping enough product on the shelves.
“The opening has just been so amazing,” said CEO and founder Sid Gupta. “It has been so overwhelming. It’s performing as one of our best stores in the whole chain … It’s a mad house.”
Lolli and Pops carries the crème de la crème of sweets from all over the world. Rows of old fashioned rainbow lollipops are stacked not far from fluffy cotton candy marshmallows. Truffles and macarons are tightly lined in their boxes while gummy bears and gumballs are loaded into dispensers.
You can spend $25 on the perfect chocolate bar at Lolli and Pops. You can also transport your taste buds to Hogwarts. The popular wizarding beverage Butterbeer is sold by the bottle there.
Gupta used to be an investment banker living in Manhattan, but his days at work got a lot sweeter when he decided to invest in sugar and opened his San Francisco-based candy company. He says he’s happier now, and it’s part of his job to spread that happiness.
Gupta likes to ask people what their favorite candy is. Sure, as a business man he’s curious about the sweets people gravitate toward. But his question goes deeper than that. He looks for the way people light up when they talk about candy and the smiles they share when sweetness is the subject.
“I saw the impact of sweets on people and thought, ‘Man, what if I could create a business that does this over and over again?’ That really created the mission [of the company], which is to create delight,” he said.
One of his first decisions was to get nostalgic about candy. Employees at Lolli and Pops wear old fashioned aprons, straw hats, and bowties. Teal walls with traditional molding circle the large assortment of candy. It’s almost like walking into an old candy store in Paris.
“A lot of other sweet shops we found in the United States had just lost the romance, you know? You can buy sweets anywhere. You can buy candy from the drug store. But why should you come to Lolli and Pops and treat yourself there? It’s all about how we create a much better experience, that creates a romance,” Gupta said.
With sea salt truffles, champagne gummy bears, and sour belts from Spain, the store is decorated with the colorful emotions that are tied to candy. And while it’s more expensive, Gupta says they offer a treat for everyone that won’t break the bank.
“Not everyone can afford the most expensive sports car or even the most expensive bottle of wine. But everyone can buy the best chocolate bar. And everyone can buy the best gummy bears, right?” he said. “That’s amazing.”