The sweetest strip on Bainbridge Island just got a little sweeter.
Bon Bon Candies has moved into its new location on Winslow Way and celebrated with a ribbon cutting Wednesday.
It’s a metaphoric move for the tiny-but-tasty business. The new-and-improved location on Winslow Way is reflective of the local store’s success in its mere seven years on the island.
“We were busting at the seams,” owner Lisa Dunlap said of the store’s former location on the corner of Bjune Drive and Madison Avenue.
Dunlap was fond of the humble Bjune location, where she spent six years peddling her homemade fudge, chocolate and other candy. But the business has grown too big for Bjune.
“This gives us room to make the fudge,” Dunlap said. “And we needed more stock room, and there’s more movement for the customer now.”
The new location at 230 Winslow Way, along side the Blackbird Bakery, is centrally located on the downtown strip.
Dunlap plans to expand her offerings of candy, particularly her lines of chocolate bars sourced locally and around the world.
“I have all the locals,” she said. “And I got French chocolates, Italian, German, Swiss. I try to get around the globe.”
Bon Bon has officially held its Winslow Way address since April 15. So far, the response from customers has been good.
“There’s been so much reaction to having more room to move around and people seem to like the look of the store,” Dunlap said.
The five new options for fudge may have helped win over customers at the new location. The flavors include butterscotch, pure peanut butter, mocha, lemon cheesecake and a combination of butterscotch, chocolate chips, pretzels, potato chips and graham crackers.
When the ribbon was cut Wednesday, Bon Bon unveiled another addition to its lineup of fudge: Red Velvet.
Dunlap thanked the employees who have helped her build the business over the years, including her daughter Jessica, employees Dawn Clark, Emily Doll and Janice Thomas. They were help that she said was essential to her success.
The journey to Winslow Way wasn’t a short one, and began before Bon Bon was even an idea. Dunlap began dreaming of her own store when she was a teenager.
“I grew up in Anchorage, Alaska and my dad had a health food store, I helped him when I was little,” Dunlap said. “Ever since I was 18 years old I wanted to own my own store. I just loved working with people and I loved retail.”
She began to get a taste for the small-business life and liked it. The passion only grew when she later went into retail.
“Then I started working with Nordstrom,” she said. “I worked with them for about 14 years, before staying home with the kids.”
But her passion wasn’t entirely realized until she stepped foot on Bainbridge Island.
“I used to have this routine where I took my kids to the library and do storytime and then we would go get something small at a candy store,” Dunlap said. “But when I moved to the island I asked where the candy store was and people said there wasn’t one.”
Dunlap had three kids and no candy store. What was a mother to do?
The answer was to start her own.
She investigated the island’s business scene and the candy industry while her kids were in school. Once the kids got older, she got more serious about it, Dunlap said.
Seven years ago, she made her move and opened Bon Bon next to Roosters Cafe.
With fresh-made fudge and a plethora of candies, chocolates and more, she drew a considerable crowd of passersby and loyal customers.
Bon Bon will continue the experience on Winslow Way, where Dunlap hopes to garner even more smiles.
“I always want somebody to walk in and if they are having a bad day, and they just want to buy something that is 10 cents, walk out and feel better,” she said. “We love making that relationship and I’ve seen it happen.”