Neighborhoods often have a favorite shop where people go to indulge their sweet tooth. For many in The Woodlands, that favorite spot might be The Candy House.
Donald and Barbara Baker, owners of The Candy House on Glen Loch Drive, spend most of their time maintaining their small store and being there for customers, who have become like family to them. The shop is also a gift store.
Baker first purchased his business back in 1989 and has been running it with his wife Barbara ever since. The shop has been at The Woodlands location for 20 years. The couple’s life revolves around their shop and has help from their children occasionally.
“We are here and then we go home, that’s about it,” Baker said. “My wife is here from opening till about 1 p.m. and I am here the rest of the time until we close. We’re open all week, sometimes I’ll close it on Sundays or if we have a doctors appointment I'll put a note on the door. It’s a very folksy operation.”
The Candy House recently had a break-in. The burglars took a sledgehammer to the windows and went straight for the cash register and with out taking any candy or damaging anything else they left, Baker said. He says the culprits haven’t been found as of yet and this wasn’t the first time he had dealt with this. The damage to the windows cost him approximately $300 and is working on getting a new sign fixture but hasn’t decided what kind yet.
“I had heard about the break in and I thought how could someone even do this?” said Woodlands area real estate agent Debra Dozier.
A friend recently told Dozier about The Candy House and how she needed to meet Donald. She came into the shop dressed up in a Batwoman costume looking for some Halloween sweets for the kids.
“It’s a hidden gem,” she said.
The simplicity and vintage of shop is what makes it most unique. Baker says he isn’t very good with using any advanced technology so he simply doesn’t. The shop has an old cash register, credit card machine, fax machine and one landline phone. When someone steps into the store it’s a nostalgic experience.
“These are how stores were in the 30’s and 40’s. And I think people relate to that those who come in that are not that old, they know its folksy like a little country store,” Baker said.
The lack of any kind of digital or technological advancement at this business is what has made it so old-fashioned yet intriguing and fun for locals.
“People come in here all the time and they’re fascinated,” Baker said.
Baker likes to talk to people, really talk to them, when they come to his store. He thinks that people just don’t really engage in conversation like they used to before.
“I think you’re malls are going to be gone in about 20 years. These stores get so busy they don’t have to the time to really talk to people to have that personal touch with them,” Baker said. “I have all the time in the world.”
When customers enter his store they are greeted by a warm welcome from Baker. He personally puts the candies of the customers choice in bags from behind the counter. He says everything behind the counter is his kingdom, he doesn’t let anyone put their hands in the jars to take any sweets out or touch the hand made fudge for sanitary reasons.
He wants people to know that his shop isn’t a confectionery store, the only thing actually make in store is the popcorn which come in plain, cheese and caramel flavors.
“We make the cheese and caramel popcorn, which is very popular. My youngest daughter comes out and makes the fudge, she comes out whenever needed, usually a Saturday or Sunday,” Baker said. “The popcorn we pop in the back and we have to make the caramel, the cheese is melted cheddar, and that’s the only thing we do onsite. We don’t make candy, we make fudge.”
Baker says that some people have even called him the Willy Wonka of The Woodlands.
“I just do it. I mean it gives you purpose, and a lot of people don’t have purpose today,” he said.