Suitcase Sweets in Lakewood Ranch Offers a Passport to Flavor

Good Bite

Pictured: A box of international candies from Suitcase Sweets. Photo courtesy of Laura Paquette.

While living in Ohio, former teachers Justin and Holly Fyffe spent their summers off traveling around the world with their four children. “We’re kids at heart, and we love toy shops and sweet shops,” says Justin. Wherever they ventured, the Fyffes visited a local candy shop to sample sweets from across the globe. On Christmas morning of 2018, as their children were enjoying candy from a recent trip to Germany, Holly proposed the idea of opening up a store featuring candies from the countries that they had visited.

In 2020 they opened Suitcase Sweets in Jackson, Ohio. Searching for a change of lifestyle and better schools for their children, the family relocated to Lakewood Ranch, taking the business with them. In February 2022, the Fyffes reopened Suitcase Sweets in Lakewood Ranch, and this week marks the shop’s first anniversary.

Candy and travel lovers alike delight in the charming shop, which beckons to shoppers with enchanting window displays. Retro travel posters line the walls, and the candies nestle together based on the continent or country where they were produced. “Chocolates from abroad don’t contain paraffin wax, a substance added to American chocolates to prevent melting,” adds Justin, “so we have to ship everything that we import on ice.” According to Justin, chocolate without paraffin wax tastes better. International confectioners also use less sugar than their American counterparts and dye their candies with natural colorings derived from plants as many countries have banned the artificial coloring common in American treats. Due to their premium ingredients and superior taste, international candies fly off the shelves. Justin recommends the British candies, like the Crunchie bar, and the popular Icelandic chocolate.

Gifts and toys, like the top-selling alpaca from Peru and Pan-Am World Airlines stationery, complement the international candies. Globes, a hot air balloon mobile, a British telephone booth and vintage suitcases add a whimsical and playful touch to the store, which also carries nostalgic candies. “People love the Mallo Cup, Necco Wafers and candy cigarettes,” says Justin, “and they’re among our biggest sellers for everyone from little kids to older adults.”

Another favorite is the $7.49 candy fill-up box, which customers can fill to the brim with saltwater taffy and other loose candies like Pixie Sticks and lollipops from the candy buffet wall. “The boxes aren’t sold by weight, so as long as the lid fits customers can fill the box to the top,” Justin says. Many shoppers purchase candies to send to loved ones out of state, and Suitcase Sweets ships premade or custom box orders.

“Holly says that you shouldn’t have to travel the world to taste it,” adds Justin. Every month, the shop features a different theme and hosts fun events for customers seeking to satisfy their sense of wanderlust. In the works are a children’s candy tasting and a space-themed month, featuring astronaut ice cream and other NASA-inspired delights. “It’s rare to find a store that carries sweets from so many places,” Justin adds, “and that makes us special.”

Suitcase Sweets, 8111 Lakewood Main St. Ste. J102, Lakewood Ranch, suitcasesweets.com.

Pictured: A box of international candies from Suitcase Sweets. Photo courtesy of Laura Paquette.

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