The Joy of the Johnson Candy Company – The Suburban Times

The Johnson Candy Company is still open and in business.

Recently I dropped off my wife Peg for an allergy shot and then drove MLK home and to the Johnson Candy Company outlet store. You must brave the construction workers, cones, and vehicles all involved in creating the Downtown Cart at Hilltop. I had come across road closure signs before, but a friend mentioned that Johnson was still open and operating. The Confectionery is located on the southeast corner of People’s Park. Their front door had been damaged (vandalism), but still worked.

I have been to this store many times. Our second home after our wedding was just a block further south on K Street. It was a fairly large apartment across from the iconic Brown’s Star Grill. We paid our rent every month at Johnson. . . but I don’t think we could afford the sweets then. Our daughter Andi was due. Memories come flooding back just thinking of Johnson’s.

Pierce College

I was greeted as I walked in, but didn’t need any help. I knew exactly where I wanted to go. Turn left from the broken door and walk about 15 steps. On the shelf on the side of the street are cheap little bags of candy paradise. I chose a red pearl strawberry candy about twice the size of my thumbnail in a six or seven piece clear packet. My second selection was a small bag of dark chocolate coated espresso beans. My third selection was seven pieces of black licorice. Each bag was a dollar.

Three bags of dollar candies.

I checked out the ‘imperfects’ along the table by the front window and avoided the glass cases protecting the excellent selections of various chocolate and nougat wonders. I paid my three bucks and told the hostess I was glad Johnson was still in business. Imperfect chocolate candies usually mean that they don’t look perfect, but don’t reflect the taste. As teenagers, my buddies and I would usually buy a bag of imperfects at a chocolate shop on South Tacoma Way on our way to the StarLite Drive-in and also when we went camping on Mt. Rainier after graduating from Clover Park (1964 ) .

Tacoma Community College

Once back in my car, I started my little three-bag feast. I ate three of the strawberry pearls. They were absolutely wonderful. I stopped at three and saved the rest for Peg. I ate all the espresso beans at once. . . throwing caution to the wind and thinking they might keep me up all night, but I slept well that night. I had never eaten licorice pieces before. I put three in my mouth and went back to get Peg. I was still chewing on the same three when I pulled into the parking spot near the hospital. The pieces reminded me of my childhood and my love of sweets. I liked the brown, chewy versions of licorice. I was chewing the last piece of imprinted licorice when Peg joined me.

I hope the Johnson Candy Company will continue for years to come, especially now that the Hilltop area is accessible from downtown.

Peg loved red pearl strawberry candy as much as I did. Next time I visit, I might have to buy two bags of reds. . . maybe three. . . or four.

Ed Selden carpet one