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  • Tara Crutchfield

Webb’s Candy Shop

“The fudge, there is so much touch and feel that goes into that,” said RJ Webb. “If you put it into the trough just a little too soon or a little too late, that batch is a throwaway.” Fudge and employees-turned-family keep this Davenport candy shop running strong.


Paul Webb courted Nadine Henderson since the first grade. They married in 1942. That’s when they purchased their first business, the Fountainette, in Mayville, New York.



One month later, Paul was drafted into the Army and served under General Patton with the 3rd Army anti-aircraft artillery unit in France and Germany. “When my grandpa got drafted into the war, he and my grandma opened a fountain shop that my grandma ran while my grandpa was off at the war,” said grandson RJ Webb. 


Beginning in 1946, the Fountainette started selling large lollipops known as “all-day suckers,” sometimes making 5,000 lollipops a day. As sales from all-day suckers slowed, Webb looked for other appetizing avenues to sell candy. He started making goat’s milk fudge, a richer and creamier alternative to its cow milk cousin.


In 1968, he built Webb’s Resort—the family-owned restaurant, marina, and bowling alley.


Meanwhile, in 1932, Sun Dial Tropical Sweets was founded in Davenport, FL. In 1935, local realtor C.S. Taylor purchased the company, renaming it C.S. Taylor Tropical Sweets. 


When the family relocated to Florida in the 1970s, Webb purchased C.S. Tropical Sweets and dubbed it Webb’s Citrus Candies. “My grandpa was not a golfer or a fisher, he liked to work. Business excited him,” said RJ. He also started Webb’s Coppertop Restaurant in Lake Wales in 1976. In 1985, youngest son and RJ’s father, John Webb took over the Coppertop Restaurant and now owns and operates Webb’s Citrus Candies.



In 1978, Webb decided to move his candy store from downtown Davenport to S.R. 27. “At the time, 27 was dead,” RJ said. “He thought that eventually this place would explode.” And he was right. 


Though Paul and Nadine Webb have passed away, Webb’s Candy Store continues as a family-owned and operated venture.


RJ and his sisters grew up working in the family business. “From the time I was old enough to play with stickers, I was pricing new inventory,” he said.


He grew up doing maintenance for the most part and always knew he wanted to go into the family business. “After my freshman year in college, I realized that no one was ever going to pay me any money to play baseball, so I got my real estate license and have been doing that since I was 20 years old,” RJ said. He assists his dad in real estate and running the family candy store.


In New York, Webb was doing goat’s milk fudge, peanut brittle, and hand-dipped chocolate. Meanwhile, Mr. Taylor was producing citrus candies down south. “When grandpa bought C.S. Taylor Tropical Sweets, he combined his recipes with Mr. Taylor’s recipes, and that’s how we have what we have today,” RJ said.


Webb’s Candy is also known for their vast selection of sugar-free sweets. “My grandpa had a huge sweet tooth. Once he got diagnosed with diabetes, he wanted to have the biggest selection of sugar-free chocolate anywhere,” said RJ.



With copper kettles dating back to 1891 and candy tables original to Sun Dial Tropical Sweets, Webb’s continues making candy magic with most of their chocolates and centers made in-house. Even their ice cream is homemade. “Our coconut ice cream has almost a cult following,” said RJ.  


But what makes Webb’s Candy special? The people. “We’ve been extremely fortunate over the years with us being a small, mom-and-pop business, with the employees that we have, they absolutely became family,” said RJ. “They take good care of us.” Many have spent a lifetime churning fudge and dipping chocolate at Webb’s.

 

 

Webb’s Candy Shop

38217 US Hwy 27, Davenport

(863) 422-1051

FB: Webb’s Candy Shop

IG @webbscandystore

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