TORONTO _ Canadians with a sweet tooth are in for a treat as Dylan’s Candy Bar has opened its first Canadian location.
The U.S. confectionery chain says it now has a store in Terminal 1 at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport and in the coming months will bring its products to the shelves of 81 Hudson’s Bay locations and open at least eight outposts at luxury retailer Holt Renfrew.
The chain’s airport location is part of its brick-and-mortar expansion outside the U.S., taking the brand beyond the handful of locations it has in cities including New York, Los Angeles and Miami, which turned celebrities Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Madonna, David Beckham and Steven Spielberg into fans.
Dylan’s Candy Bar says its 1,100-square-foot, Toronto spot has more than 500 products, a chocolate station and sells dozens of varieties of candies, travel gear, accessories and other confectionery-themed products.
The chain says it is working on opening flagship retail locations in the Toronto area within the next year or so.
Its U.S. locations are chock full of 7,000 kinds of confections, including some from its private label and others from famed international and imported brands. They’re sold alongside candy-themed apparel, home decor, stationery, jewelry, toys and novelty items like strollers, flip-flops, make-up, pillows and pet bowls.
Some of the stores are even outfitted with party rooms, ice cream and dessert parlours and candy cocktail bars, where flamboyantly-coloured menu items are topped with cotton candy and crafted with Jolly Rancher-infused vodkas and bubbling Hubba Bubba mixes.
In Canada, Dylan’s will face fierce competition from Chocolats Favoris, a Quebec City-based artisanal confectioner that recently opened more Canadian locations, and Montreal-based Squish, which was founded in 2014 and boasts over 100 flavours of gourmet candies that come in traditional flavours, but also feature some more imaginative ones including sangria, bourbon, chili ginger, champagne, yogurt and elderberry.
Squish’s candies, primarily gummies, come in dozens of shapes, including unicorns, cats, dogs, French fries, ice cubes, flowers, snakes and rats.
Squish has a handful of locations in Ontario, Quebec, Alberta and British Columbia that are mostly in malls, but also in Hudson’s Bay outposts, putting it in direct competition with forthcoming offerings from Dylan’s that will be sold at the department store.
Dylan’s was founded by Ralph Lauren’s daughter Dylan Lauren in 2001, after she was reportedly inspired by Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory story. Lauren first thought she would launch an art gallery and cafe to show off artists she had discovered working with candy, but quickly realized how profitable confections can be and instead opened a store.
In recent months, the brand announced a partnership with Target and said it would introduce a line of “healthier” candies that are vegan, gluten-free, nut-free and allergen-free.