We chat with a local family who combined their love for travel, yummy treats, and helping others with their fun spirited attitude to open a groovy little sweet shop in Mariemont. Keep reading for all the delectable details.
Want to feel like a kid in a candy shop again? Make that dream a reality (even if you’re just a kid at heart now) when you step inside Groovy Gumball Candy Co., a novelty boutique that takes guests on a trip down memory lane.
This bulk bin and gourmet candy shop is located in the heart of Mariemont Village and is a family adventure that started during car talk between husband-and-wife team Bridgett and Dave Karlson after a lunch together.
The couple wanted to create a happy place where people felt warmth and joy just from being in the store while enjoying quality candy products.
“Many of my childhood memories of candy surround a loved one or a fond moment from my childhood,” says Bridgett “I was a flight attendant for a major airline for many years and my travel abroad gave me a demanding palette for tasty and fine chocolates from all around the world.”
Following their idea, and subsequent car discussion, the family put their ideas together to open their very own candy store.
“My mind ran wild with ideas that I bounced off my four children and husband, those ideas led to a phone call, that phone call led to a business plan and that business plan led to Groovy Gumball becoming a brick and mortar reality,” says Bridgett.
“We carry humorous and snarky gift items that make people laugh and help them lighten up a bit,” she says. “We specialize in imported candies and chocolates from Europe, hard to find items, and a unique Belgian Chocolate Fudge line that is typically found in European confection stores.”
Bridgett says that much of what inspired her family to follow through with their idea of a candy store is that they knew local children and parents would love it, as they’re Mariemont residents themselves. They also loved the idea of providing freshness, flexibility, and the ability to make customized candy assortments.
“I envisioned a whimsical store that felt like a tiny escape from the outside world that was full of sweets, confections, and funny items,” she adds.
Bridgett says she can’t take all of the credit for the candy shop. She also got a lot of help and input from her husband and kids, saying that her husband’s biggest contribution has been the word “groovy.”
“He loved it, insisted on it, and I’m glad I listened because it’s added a super fun edge to the store, especially as we grow into our novelty and import items that accessorize the store beyond candy,” she says. “We think everyone needs a little groovy and candy in their life.”
Currently, the most popular candies at Groovy Gumball are the Belgian Chocolate Fudge, Trump Hair Gourmet Cotton Candy, Albanese Gummy Bear Cubs, Licorice Laces, Chocolate Covered Gummy Bears, and Dark Chocolate Gourmet Almonds.
Bridgett says that at Groovy Gumball they also make a few candies of their own, including a Truffle & Rosemary Amish Popcorn. “We are currently working on branding our own deviation of the bourbon ball, which feels like a good fit being that I’m from Lexington and my husband and I are bourbon connoisseurs,” she adds.
Plus, you can feel safe knowing that the items you find at Groovy Gumball are hand-selected, high-quality sweets. “We buy many candies from Sweden and Spain, which are countries that have amazing candy guidelines by using no high fructose corn syrup, Red #40 and Yellow #5,” she says. “We can’t think of any other place in Cincinnati where you can bring your significant other, parents, grandparents, kids, or good friends, take a trip down memory lane, and have an equally good time with each and every person. We do that here and we also would go as far to claim you’d be making a new memory with a visit!”
Groovy Gumball also offers a toothbrush recycling program, which is unique in and of itself. Bridgett says that when she and her family decided they were going to open a candy shop, she knew that she didn’t want to just promote candy that could lead to dental decay.
“So I came up with a plan,” she explains. “I reached out to some of the best and most popular dentists and orthodontists in town and created a program where I was able to give out toothbrushes provided by my “Dentists of the Month” and reward newcomers and birthday kids with a new toothbrush. There’s a tiny and little powerful moment when I hand a child a toothbrush and they realize they’re in a candy store and then you see that lightbulb moment go off. It’s awesome.”
She says the toothbrush recycling program was just another idea that popped into her head as she was searching for a candy flavored toothpaste to sell in the shop. “I came across the shocking statistic that almost no one recycles their toothbrush and they sit in landfills,” says Bridgett. “We all know plastic can take over a million years to decompose. So with that information, we wanted to get it out there that folks can recycle their toothbrush that is 100 percent plastic. If folks throw their brush in our recycle bin, we provide a new toothbrush as well! It works.”
Bridgett says that this spring, Groovy Gumball will launch a candy delivery box to college students that parents can regularly sign up for to be delivered in the mail. She says that she hopes to also start producing their own candy in the future as well.
Groovy Gumball Candy Co. is located at The Shoppes at The Mariemont Strand behind Starbucks, next door to Rooted and across the street from Mariemont Elementary.