Imagine being a kid in a candy store.
That’s the feeling Ricardo Rizaie wants to create for kids of all ages when they walk into a Ricardo’s Kandy Korner shop. Whether they are kids by age or just kids at heart, the store offers a ‘wow’ experience for those looking for some sweets and some treats.
Rizaie has two stores operating in the Vancouver area and a flagship store planned for the downtown CF Toronto Eaton Centre in Toronto.
The first location opened in June 2021 in White Rock Beach in B.C., followed by another location in July 2022 in downtown Vancouver on Granville Street.
“We are B.C.’s biggest candy store,” said Rizaie. “And this will be Ontario’s biggest candy store. We have the biggest selection of bulk candy with over 450 different (candies). So people come in and choose their bulk candy, mix and match, all at one price.
“We have a lot of imported candy as well.
“Our idea basically is when a customer walks in we want to give them that experience like they’ve never had before. Super fun. Exciting. And when they leave there it’s like ‘oh wow, this store was really cool’.”
The stores are about 1,500 square feet.
Rizaie was initially thinking of opening a location outside of a mall in downtown Toronto. While he was looking, a realtor showed him some locations and asked Rizaie if he would consider going inside a mall.
But Rizaie thought it would not be possible as a huge mall wouldn’t want the concept of a candy store.
“That’s what I thought. This is only a third location and I don’t think they’d be interested,” he said.
But Cadillac Fairview, which operates the CF Toronto Eaton Centre, made Rizaie an offer which he jumped at.
“Foot traffic wise this is Canada’s busiest mall I would say. You’re in the heart of downtown Toronto. You have like the biggest reach possible in the most populous city in Canada, province as well,” he said.
“So it’s a huge reach and it opens more doors going somewhere else potentially. I want to have one in every major province in Canada. For example, Montreal would be ideal for our next spot. Calgary would be nice too, somewhere downtown.
“The good thing with Ontario is we could do three, four stores easily. It’s such a big area. We could do one in Niagara Falls, Yorkdale. So many different options here. We’re going to continue to grow.”
Rizaie said the brand’s customers are from five years old to seniors. There’s something for everybody.
“The kids love their Pez dispensers. The adults, like seniors, like their licorice candy, their chocolate selection. We have a big chocolate selection. Our biggest audience is the young adults, anywhere from 20 to 35 actually.
“When people walk into the store we want them to feel excited. It’s like ‘holy shit, this is a lot of candy’. You don’t even know where to start. Most of the customers that walk in they are wowed at the decor, the selection, just the vibe in general. They’re amazed by it.”
Rizaie used to be in banking and wasn’t too happy with that. So he bought a convenience store from a family friend, renovated it and did really well. He saved some money and opened the first Kandy store then the second one.
He’s got an ice cream store as well in White Rock called Ricardo’s with about 100 flavours of ice cream. He also has a vape shop on White Rock Beach called Smoke Culture.
“I’m involved in a lot of different businesses,” he said.