Family-owned candy shop celebrates Chocolate Day.
A common sight along boardwalks through the years has been the taffy-pulling machine in the window of a candy shop, stretching the sweet stuff to the limit.
Taffy is still a popular treat; Zeno’s Boardwalk Sweet Shop on Main Street has been going strong since 1948. The family business also sells a wide variety of candy and ice cream, which was available at the National Chocolate Day celebration at their factory store location in Sunshine Park Mall in South Daytona on Oct. 28.
They have always made what they sell, and they consider their taffy the World’s Most Famous Taffy, being made on the World’s Most Famous Beach. They make more types of taffy than anyone else in the world, said spokeswoman Logan Perakis.
The business is now run by third generation owner John Louizes. He said when he took over the business they had 20 types of taffy, but he decided to have as many different types of taffy as they had ice cream.
Louizes opened the factory store last February, and decided to also open a shop in front to let local citizens enjoy the candy, ice cream and taffy that tourists have enjoyed for many years on the Boardwalk.
The mall has been a good location, he said, especially with a skating rink on one side and a pet shop on the other.
“The new space is just amazing and we’re really having fun with it,” he said
PART OF DAYTONA HISTORY
His great uncle started the shop, after learning the art of candy making on Coney Island. Later, his dad, Zeno, took over and now John runs the business. They use the same ingredients for the taffy, even though it’s now mixed, rather than pulled on machines. When mixed, it lasts longer, Louizes explained.
Everything is made at the factory store, where the public can look through windows to see the operation, and there are tours at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
“It’s very neat to see,” Louizes said. “We want to showcase it.”
Louizes enjoys creating new flavors, and he’s a big fan of ice cream himself.
“I’ve been lucky to be born in a business that I care a great deal about,” he said.
Louizes has been working with schools and companies on fundraisers, where he will donate a portion of sales. Also, he has a new venture, creating favors for weddings, graduations or corporate gifts.
“We can put the names or the logo on the candy,” he said.
“I’ve been lucky to be born in a business that I care a great deal about.”
JOHN LOUIZES, owner, Boardwalk Sweet Shop
He said the Boardwalk Shop stays busy, and there is more year-round business than in the old days. When he was a child, they would close for a few months in the fall, but now there is enough business to stay open.
The Boardwalk is also doing well.
“It’s very family friendly. It’s got rides, games, candy shops,” he said.
He has been branching out slowly, opening stores in Madeira Beach and St. Augustine, so he doesn’t have “all of his eggs in one basket.”
He doesn’t want to depend totally on the Boardwalk shop, saying hurricanes in recent years have been very scary.