Owners Brad Holybee, left, and Pat Resing open the doors on the first day of business at the Redington Shores location of Candy Kitchen at 18131 Gulf Blvd.
REDINGTON SHORES – Homemade ice cream, fudge, toffee and candy of every description have drawn locals and visitors to the Candy Kitchen for generations.
The Madeira Beach institution at 13711 Gulf Blvd. has been around since 1950. Always in the same building, a tiny, stone block structure, at the same Gulf Boulevard location.
Sweets lovers spotting the CK’s signature candy-striped awnings and smacking lips about six miles north on the boulevard are not seeing a mirage. After 59 years, the Candy Kitchen concept is being transported to the Redingtons.
Owner-manager Brad Holybee says he never considered creating more Candy Kitchens until approached by future partner Pat Resing. Resing, who lives in Seminole just across the causeway from Redington Shores, said he “just loved the Candy Kitchen” and dreamed of having one nearby.
After trips up and down Gulf Boulevard, Resing found the perfect location – across from County Park with its public beach access.
“I came home, called Brad, and asked if he would be interested in expanding together,” Resing said.
Holybee said he thought over the idea and decided to do it.
“After 59 years, it was time to open another (Candy Kitchen),” Holybee said. “Pat found the spot. So I said, ‘Let’s see if it would work.’”
On New Year’s Day, CK II was ready at 18131 Gulf Blvd. in Redington Shores.
Customers began arriving even prior to the announced 11 a.m. opening, braving chilly rain and dropping temperatures. They found the new Candy Kitchen to be what they wanted – more of the same.
“It’s the same ice cream, fudge and Italian ices we serve in our original location,” Pat Resing pointed out. “All homemade and delivered from our production facility in Largo.”
The two locations are even sharing employees, he said. There are also the toys from yesteryear, with no electronics and no batteries required.
Row after row of nostalgic candies, some 450 types, are on display. The larger Redington Shores building allows a bonus, the addition of Florida candies not carried in Madeira, and a model train that circles the perimeter above the shelves of candies.
Otherwise, it’s all the same, Holybee and Resing assured the early arrivals. Customers will even have a chance to sign the walls, just like the original building.
“It’s the same company, same exact signage, everything,” Resing said. “Even the lips on the door,” added Brad’s wife, Lora.
If the expansion concept takes hold and the numbers work out, the beaches could see more Candy Kitchens, Holybee speculated. Clearwater Beach and Indian Rocks Beach were mentioned as future expansion possibilities.