Before diving into the Sweet as Fudge Candy Shop, it is crucial to have an idea of the variety of goods offered at the popular and historic Reading Terminal Market.
Philadalphia, Pa.–Walking through the doors of Reading Terminal Market, one is instantly met with the bustling crowds inside the market. Located at 51 N 12th St. in Philadelphia, Pa. it rests right in the heart of the Center City district of the city. With over 100 merchants offering anything ranging from cheese steaks and baked goods to flowers and crafts, it is no surprise that the market attracts a large number of customers especially during the holiday season.
Christmas music can be heard blaring through the speakers as customers rest and eat from restaurants or continue to browse looking for the perfect item. During the lunch period anyone from restaurant workers, shoppers and even police officers can be seen shopping. It can prove to be difficult to navigate through the crowds forming around the large number of food and shopping options.
A variety of restaurants are offered in the market including Down Home Diner, Olympia Gyro and Bassetts Ice Cream. Shops selling clothing, candles and books are also in the market, which makes it the perfect destination for holiday shopping.
The origins of the market can be traced back to the 1800s, having first been originated in a refrigerated storage area in a basement. However, the market experienced a rebirth after the Depression and experienced positive consequences of World War II as a result of goods being at a higher demand. The market is currently open seven days a week and is a popular destination for both tourists and locals.
Located towards 12th street in the market is the Sweet as Fudge Candy Shoppe that sees much business especially during the holiday season. Once in the shop, the customer is greeted with a variety of candies, chocolates, fudge and nuts surrounding them. The smell of fudge can be smelled as it is prepared behind the counter. Even though Reading Terminal Market has been around since 1893, the shop has only been around since 1981 and the shop owner, Paul Fisher, inherited it through his family. Despite the fact that he had previously been in other work, he now runs the shop. “My dad had it for a while and then my brother had it. Now I have it, that’s how I got started,” Fisher said. Sweet as Fudge Candy Shoppe though, has always had its location at the market.
The shop is opened all year round, however becomes busier during the holidays. “Our candy stock is seasonal with all four seasons we change candy. Christmas is definitely a good time of the year because it picks up and we get a lot of shoppers,” Fisher added. The shop features candies based on the season. Valentine’s Day candies are available during that season and Christmas candies are available during the Christmas season. Some of the Christmas merchandise includes anything from Milk Chocolate Christmas Non Pariels to Milk Chocolate Christmas Tree Pretzels.
With the option of shopping by coming to the market or shopping online, it is no surprise that the shop flourishes during the holidays. Combining homemade fudge with licorices and flavored nuts, any number of items in the shop could serve as a gift from anyone from a co-worker to a child. Sugar-free candy and no sugar added candy options are also available if necessary, thus making the shop health friendly and diabetes friendly.
Even with the holidays and influx of tourists, the shop does also cater to consistent shoppers. “We have a lot of returning customers,” Fisher said. With trying to attract to new people and keep up with the popular demand, merchandise is continually changing. “I don’t have a set in stone process of trying new things, but we constantly don’t sell something anymore because it isn’t selling well. Then, we try new things. There’s a constant revolving door, but it’s not like we have a system in place for it.”
With just four people working in the shop, it feels more like a family owned pop-up shop than a successful business in the busy Reading Terminal Market. The intimacy and large selection make the shop fit for any candy lover’s dream. With bags of nuts and candies offered in size large or small and fudge offered in a variety of flavors and sizes, customers can choose a combination that fits perfectly for them.
The workers are right behind the glass and can be seen making the fudge and chocolate to customers passing by creating a homelike atmosphere. To be able to shop while the items are being made is a rare experience in today’s culture and has the power to transport you back to when the market began in the 1800s. When asked what he likes most about his job in the shop, Fisher responded, “My favorite part about my job is making fudge. I enjoy making fudge. I also enjoy working with the people that I have working for me and we have a great customer base here. They are very varied and interesting.”