At Powell’s Sweet Shoppe in Oakland, treats from every era

on December 19, 2011

Powell’s Sweet Shoppe on College Avenue caters to every candy lover’s dreams. With over 6,000 confections in stock that range from the chewy, taffy, peanut butter-centered Abba-Zabas to all varieties of creamy gelato, this local business carries treats from every era.

Michael Powell opened his flagship location in Windsor, California, in September of 2003. After a successful first year, Powell expanded the business into a franchise, opening fifteen stores in California cities like Burlingame, Chico, Long Beach, Novato and more. In 2008, a Powell’s popped up in Bend, Oregon, and Boise, Idaho, now has its very own Powell’s as well.

About a year ago, Shahrazad Junblat opened the East Bay Powell’s, which sits just on the border of Berkeley and North Oakland. “The main thing about Powell’s is the memories,” she said. “That’s what we sell—we sell smiles and memories.”

Rockridge natives and neighborhood visitors on the hunt for vintage treats and off-the-wall sweets drop into Powell’s daily. “Around every corner, there’s something new that you’ve never seen before,” said Oakland resident and first time Powell’s customer Andrea McGrath. “But there are also all your classic candies that you grew up with. It just really brings you back. It’s great to have in the neighborhood.”

Powell’s features candies from every decade of the 20th century: There are Bit-O-Honeys and Squirrel Nut Zippers from the early 1900s, 1950s-era Look Bars and Pixy Stix, and Nerds and Runts of the 1980s. The store also features high fructose-free and gluten-free candies for health-conscious patrons, as well as a selection of vegan treats.

“At the end of the day, my employees have to kick me out,” Junblat said. “It’s like, ‘Okay, enough. Leave!’ I love being here. It’s a treat, absolutely.”

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Photo by Basil D Soufi
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