Powell’s owner sweet on candy



Powell’s Sweet Shoppe in La Jolla’s Village is as much a feast for the eyes as it is for the mouth. The “old-time, old-fashioned, old-world” candy shop is bursting from floor to ceiling with more than 4,000 types of candy.

There is a new surprise around every corner of the 1,500-square-foot store. A gelato counter reminiscent of an old-fashioned soda fountain greets customers when they enter the store. There are more than 24 gelato flavors and more than 40 vintage bottled sodas. Vintage candy boxes and games adorn the ceiling around the counter.

The sweet shop also has an impressive selection of gummy candies, M&M’s in every color, every flavor of Jelly Belly, retro candy and toys, sugar-free candy, a British import section, vintage-style tin lunch boxes, a novelty section and a large assortment of chocolate bars ranging from Scharffen Berger to Wonka Bars.

Melissa Gilleon, a 33-year resident of La Jolla, opened Powell’s in La Jolla on June 11, 2008, after visiting the flagship Powell’s in Windsor. Powell’s has franchises in 18 cities in California, Colorado, Oregon and Idaho.

Gilleon’s sister, who lives in Windsor, called to tell her about a “little candy shop” that was beginning to franchise. Gilleon remembers the first time she visited Powell’s.

“I walked in the store, and it felt like a warm hug and a chocolate kiss,” Gilleon said. “That’s how I want people to feel when they walk into my store.”

Powell’s deals just as much in memories as it does in candy. Gilleon says that more adults frequent her store than children and that some customers come in multiple times a day.

Gilleon recalls a time when an older gentleman was lingering in the “Memory Lane” section of the store, which specializes in old-fashioned and hard-to-find candy. When Gilleon asked if he was finding everything OK, he told her, “I’m just getting acquainted with some old friends.”

Hailey Chung, a San Diego State University student, stops into Powell’s whenever she has the chance.

“It’s really different from other candy shops,” Chung said. “There’s a wide variety of candy. I also love the handmade truffles.”

The back of the store resembles a mini-movie theater, complete with three theater seats, a table filled with common theater candies and a flat-screen television that plays “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” on loop.

The store is busiest on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and the summer season and may see 70 to 100 customers inside at any given time, according to Gilleon.

Gilleon would like to open two more Powell’s in Southern California in the next five years.

Powell’s Sweet Shoppe is at 1000 Prospect St. Visit