Deb and Joe Giordano 

Though Boise has a handful of candy shops, there's only one that could be considered a candy experience, and that's Cravin's Candy Emporium in Bown Crossing. Walking into Cravin's is a bit like falling down the sugar-coated rabbit hole—a particularly appropriate image with Easter approaching. Inside, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory screens on an endless loop, punctuated by vintage candy commercials, and tunes like Sammy Davis Jr.'s "The Candy Man" trill from overhead speakers. And that's not to mention the bulk candy dispensers and brightly colored packages covering the walls and stacked in towers on every surface. When BW visited, co-owners Deb and Joe Giordano offered us the grand tour, starting with the imported candies and the old-fashioned soda bar (crowned by a jar of massive $11 jawbreakers) and moving past a kid's candy and toy section, a gelato station, a case of house-made chocolate confections and a display of old Candyland boards.

With Easter on the way, Cravin's is particularly busy, but before the doors opened, the Giordanos sat down in the candy shop's row of theater seats (surrounded by a mountain of movie candy favorites, of course) to talk about their business and what the upcoming holiday looks like through the lense of chocolate bunnies, chick-decorated cookies and foil-wrapped candy eggs.

So let's start with a big question: What brought you to candy?

Deb: What brought us to candy? It's candy! Everybody loves candy.

Joe: Well, we were both in different industries, we were both doing different things in public service and we started having a family, so we decided that we were going to make a life change. And we thought, well, we'll open up our own business and that will give us more time to be at home with the kids.

Is the name Cravin's a play on "cravings"?

Deb: It is, yes! It's kind of like, 'Everybody has a little cravin'."

Joe: It took us a year to come up with that name! It's not easy to do.

Joe, you mentioned when we were talking earlier that your grandparents had owned a mom-and-pop store back in Pennsylvania, where you're from. When you think back to that time, what are some of the good memories that you want to incorporate here?

Joe: In my family, we had Sunday night dinner at my grandparents', who had their mom-and-pop store, so after we had dinner they turned us loose to go get a candy out there, or an ice cream. So that was always a memory that was just great. ... It linked it to family, and to good times with family, and it just creates those links to time best spent. So that really is what this store is about. It wasn't picking something online and clicking on a button. It's coming here, it was going there, and being with family, being with those people that aren't around anymore and having those memories.

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  • Lex Nelson

What about you, Deb? Did you have a neighborhood candy store?

Deb: I feel like, we've owned the store for 12 years and that's always been kind of our jumping off point was we have these great memories. Mine was a neighborhood candy store [in California] that was owned by a mom and pop. They turned their garage into a candy store. But it was great! We would wash the car and get a quarter and go down with our quarter and pick out what we wanted. I'd do that with my siblings, we'd walk together. You're chatting and talking and like Joe said, you're spending time. So all those times create good memories, and now that Joe and I are getting older we do really feel like time is so important, and so we want this place to be a place where people can come and have their time well spent.

Let's talk about Easter. Do you bring in any new inventory specifically for people loading up candy baskets or eggs?

Joe: Well, that's a good segue into Easter and some of the traditions that started here. We see a lot of families coming here for Easter. Instead of necessarily making a basket for their house, they'll bring their kids here and the kids will choose and make their own Easter here in the store. We see that more and more.

Deb: ... We do bring in Easter-specific things. It's one of my favorite candy holidays. I mean, who doesn't love pastel colors and foil-wrapped chocolates? It's just, I don't know, it's beautiful candy. And it's spring! But we'll bring in, you know, stuffed rabbits and we have a lot of fun little retro toys that people like to incorporate into their kids' baskets with the candy.

Are there any particular candies that you associate with Easter from when you were kids?

Joe: Chocolate eggs, of course, and jelly beans, and bunnies, chocolate bunnies.

Deb: Lots of jelly beans.

That was my thing as a kid, chocolate bunnies. You'd eat the ears off and the bunny would be all, 'Ah, my ears!"

Joe: That's universal, right? The ears go first.

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