February 5, 2010

Sweet Valentines For the Troops

Take one step into Naper Nuts and Sweets and you’ll immediately be transformed back to the old fashioned candy store you went to as a child. If you’re a kid, you’re in candy heaven!

For most, a visit to this 30 year old shop starts with the flip of a switch that makes the popular candy train go round, and then it’s decision time!

“I like a good Laffy Taffy,” candy lover Justin Lehn said.
“The Sour Watermelons,” is Allison Bartley’s choice.
“It’s hard to choose,” Anthony Gabrione said.

Owner Dominique Martucci says there’s something here for everyone. From traditional hard candy to retro favorites like Mary Janes, or something a bit more daring, a sweet scorpion or even sour cream and onion crickets.

The favorite treat for kids of all ages and the number one selling item in the shop is the caramel corn. Employees mix up more than 10 batches a day to keep up with the demand.

But there’s more to Naper Nuts and Sweets then just candy. While they sell thousands of these bags of caramel corn a week, they send just as many to the troops serving overseas.

Martucci calls it Operation Carmel Corn, and its been the heart of her candy shop since Valentine’s Day 2003.

“I know this was something I had to keep doing and it was a way to honor these young men….it has brought me so many blessing, I can’t tell you,” Martucci said.

Martucci’s caramel corn donations have been a hit with the troops. A candy-less wall is home to dozens of flags, photos and letters from hundreds of grateful troops overseas she has fed not only with her caramel corn, but with local love that goes into every package.

“I’ve gotten more back than you can imagine. Some of my favorite photos are when a soldier hands a bag of caramel corn to a child in Kuwait.” Martucci said. “It’s a true example of their character, they give up to someone else.”

To find out more about Operation Carmel Corn, check out their website at napernutsandsweets.com.


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