Candy store-attraction on Myrtle Beach’s Ocean Boulevard on track to open for summer

dbryant@thesunnews.comApril 1, 2013 

— It’s about to get a little sweeter along Ocean Boulevard.

I Love Sugar -- a new 6,500-square-foot store and attraction -- is on track to debut the first week of May, giving Myrtle Beach’s main tourist drag its only store devoted to anything and everything sweet.

This likely isn’t the place for someone with a sweet craving to rush in for a bag of M&Ms or a box of Nerds. Here, customers can build their own bag, box or basket of candy from a selection of hundreds of options. M&Ms separated by colors, gummy bears and everything in between.

Custom bags are sold by weight; one pound goes for $12.

The store also will sell 24 flavors of gelato and non-food items such as flip flops and beach bags emblazoned with your favorite soda or sweet. This place will be so addicted to sugar, even the music playing will have the sweet theme: think “Sugar, Sugar” from the ‘60s, “Lollipop” from the ‘50s and, of course, “I Want Candy” from the ‘80s.

“Everything candy related,” said David Oaknin, president and CEO of I Love Sugar. “Gummy bears on a beach bag, Nerds on a tank top.”

The store is one of several new additions along Ocean Boulevard for this summer. A miniature golf course has opened and a restaurant will soon follow oceanfront at Seventh Avenue North where The Chesterfield Inn once stood. Farther south, Family Kingdom Amusement Park added several new rides.

I Love Sugar is under construction at 919 N. Ocean Boulevard, where a candy store stood decades ago. In December, crews knocked down that building, which officials said dated back to the 1940s and had been a boarding house and most recently a beachwear store.

I Love Sugar will be more of an attraction than just a store, with the design and colors likely to lure folks who aren’t searching just for sweets, said Dave Sebok, executive director of Myrtle Beach’s Downtown Redevelopment Corp., which works to improve this tourist area.

“I think it is going to be a great addition,” he said. “It’s a step forward in making it a little more diverse.”

This isn’t the first bulk, create-your-own-combination candy store along the Grand Strand, with stores such as It’Sugar, a chain with locations in more than 15 states, operating at Broadway at the Beach, and Myrtle Beach Candy Barrel at Tanger Outlet off U.S. 501.

Oaknin said he’s been working on I Love Sugar for about two years, designing it as an attraction. He decided to open one here after noticing how well the concept did in other tourist areas such as Las Vegas and New York City, and the concept fits with the atmosphere along the Boulevard, mixed among Ripley’s attractions and the SkyWheel, he said. The store will feature high ceilings with lines of candy canisters and chandeliers made with 10,000 acrylic gummy bears dangling.

“This concept is in every high-traffic tourist destination, but Ocean Boulevard didn’t have one,” Oaknin said. “It’s just a perfect concept for there. It’s really like a no-brainer to put this concept there.”

The store plans to open the week of May 1. Hours for the summer will be 10 a.m. to midnight or later, depending on the crowds, seven days a week. I Love Sugar will stay open year-round, but the hours will be scaled back in the fall for the off-season.

Contact DAWN BRYANT at 626-0296 or at dbryant@thesunnews.com or follow her at Twitter.com/TSN_dawnbryant.

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