After careers in other sectors of the food business, Ed and Angie Farha have found their sweetest job yet.
They’re running the Farris Wheel candy store in Piccadilly Square started by Ed’s father, Farris.
“I’ve had to sample all 600 candies,” said Angie, who is Ed Farha’s sister-in-law. She joined the business a few months ago after managing several restaurants.
“It’s tough,” deadpanned Ed, who previously worked in his family’s wholesale food business. “You’ve got to sample everything.”
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The Farhas dish out plenty of samples in tiny paper cups to customers as well, figuring a small bite is the surest way to a sale.
Farris Farha, who’s now retired, opened the store next to Piccadilly Market in 2006, and Ed joined a few years later. Farris and his wife, Karen, are now retired, although both still offer support when needed, their son said.
The store is modeled after an old-time candy store, with a huge glass display case taking up the center of the 3,000-square-foot space. Bin after bin of chocolates, nuts and candies lie there in tempting fashion.
“We’ve got stuff from some of the oldest chocolatiers, some of the oldest family-owned companies in America,” Ed said, mentioning Abdallah, Asher and Bedre among other suppliers. “You won’t find a bad product.”
The No. 1 seller – and Angie’s favorite – is a dark chocolate confestion with sea salt made by Abdallah. Ed’s go-to sweet is a divinity that’s “almost as good as my mother used to make.”
Much of the store’s business comes from gift baskets and corporate sales.
“We just finished an order for a thousand pieces,” Angie said.
There’s a big table set aside for gift wrapping, as well as another corner of the store set aside for candy with nostalgic appeal – Zero bars, candy necklaces, Black Jack gum and a peanut butter concoction known to many as “chicken bones.”
Wedding receptions and other parties make up another big chunk of business. Holidays are important, of course – Halloween, Easter, Valentine’s Day and, the biggest of all, Christmas, when the store’s employees swell from four to a dozen. A fall-themed treat, Pumpkin Pie Almonds, sold out in three days. More are ordered.
Ed and Angie seem suspiciously slim to work in their surroundings but claim it has nothing to do with the 70 types of sugar-free products for sale in the Farris Wheel.
“If you eat something totally, completely satisfying,” Angie said, “you don’t eat as much of it.”