Walking into Bruce’s Candy Kitchen in Cannon Beach is like being transported back to the old days of candy stores in the 1950s and ‘60s.
Which isn’t surprising since the store is family owned and operated by four generations. The Cannon Beach store has been open since April 1, 1963 and today the tradition continues, even after 50 years of operation.
Walking into the candy store the first thing you notice are the amazing smells and incredible colors that greet you. For the kids, there are large windows where you can watch employees make candy – salt water taffy. It’s an education for anyone who doesn’t know how taffy is made, and interesting to see the process.
“I always tell people visiting for the first time to come to the kitchen window and watch the magic happen, as we like to say,” said Susan Truax, the owner and manager of the Cannon Beach store. “It’s fun to watch them make the products and we give out samples of what we are wrapping right then. Nothing is better than warm taffy without the wrapper. You can’t get that just anywhere.”
Many times her son, Kyle Truax, is working the machines that stretch, measure and then wrap the little candies. Customers also talk with candy makers – sometimes watching an entire batch being made which takes around 30 minutes, she said.
Kyle said that one summer an older woman came to the window and was very excited about the process.
“People kept asking me if she was my grandma,” Kyle said with a laugh.
“Kyle, Brian and Ben (the three candy makers) make more friends right here who will come back year after year and look for them,” Susan said. “This is a family affair. One of my daughters manages the Seaside store, and myself and my other daughter are at this store.”
The Cannon Beach store, located in downtown, has the larger kitchen of the two stories and is constantly creating yummy treats year-round. Susan said that while there are other candy stores on the coast that make their own taffy, she likes to put a lot of flavor into hers, so you customers can tell what the flavor is.
“The flavoring is the most expensive ingredient, but we find it is worth it,” she said.
But the store doesn’t just feature the saltwater taffy everyone has come to know on the Oregon Coast. The stores also make their own chocolates, and in the back there is nearly always someone on duty creating the latest truffle or stick of chocolate.
“We make our own chocolate and centers, they are very popular,” Susan said. “The chocolate sea foam would be our most popular chocolate.”
Weekends are usually busy for the store, but if you want to spend some time and talk with candy makers and really explore all the nooks and crannies, winter and fall are two great times to visit the beach in general. In addition, during the holidays the store does create many custom peppermint candies and homemade eggnog caramels which will reduce anyone’s will power to dust.
The shop also features a number of different gift items, because nothing goes better with candy than a teddy bear – especially if you are trying to score points with your significant other.
“During the summer we are very busy, in fact July and August are the busiest times, so plan accordingly,” she said.
About Bruce’s Candy Kitchen: A family owned and operated store of 4 generations we offer a wide variety of mouth watering sweets. From our award winning salt water taffy, handmade chocolates & caramel corn you're sure to find just what you need to meet your sweet tooth. We pride ourselves on providing our customers with the highest quality confections our family can produce. A Cannon Beach family tradition since 1963, we are delighted to bring our handmade confections online for you and your family to enjoy all year long.
What to bring: Make sure you have some sort of food before you enter the store, because between the samples, and the bag of saltwater taffy you will walk out with, your blood sugar is going to spike. In addition, make sure to give yourself some time, because there is so much in the store, you don’t want to miss something.
Tip: The store also offers some interesting gift items for kids and adults. While I was at the store I found gifts for my nephews (huge Spider-Man fans) and was able to get them two glasses which I filled with candy.
Season: The store is open year-round.
Getting there: The store is located at 256 N. Hemlock, Cannon Beach. The Seaside store is located at 1111 N. Roosevelt Drive.
By Patrick Johnson