Leo Gray walked around hunting for puzzles on Friday at Minnesota’s Largest Candy Store.

When asked if he also wanted to grab candy — it was a firm no.

“Just shopping for the puzzles,” he said. “I’m not going around for the other things.”

The Lakeville resident comes out to the store two to three times a year for puzzles. The candy store opened for the season Friday morning and shoppers’ carts and baskets were filled with socks, puzzles, soda, pies and of course, candy.

Store owner Renee Wagner and her husband Robert were concerned the construction on Highway 169 would derail their business. Construction started about a week ago, leaving shoppers a small gravel right turn lane for customers southbound on Highway 169.

But the store still drew a sweet crowd on Friday.

Rooms were refurbished into a fantasy theme, with ceilings covered in stars and floating spaceships and a new planetarium. The planetarium has a rotating ceiling flooded with stars, planets and milky ways. In the middle stands a police box from the popular television series, Doctor Who.

“It started out that it was going to be a educational area with the solar system and all the planets,” owner Robert Wagner said. “Then someone told us that the kids would probably find that boring and it morphed into this.”

Jerry Kornder, aka the “Soda Guy,” and Wagner both have a favorite product — chocolate with hazelnuts.

“They’re not just any hazelnuts, it’s got to be the whole hazelnut,” Kordner said. “It can’t be cracked or halved.”

New products this year include Ramune — a Japanese soda — and Flipz pretzels.

Minneapolis resident Jon Kietcer prefers the classics, such as pies.

“The main attraction is to pick up a pie,” he said. “Usually it’s apple, but because there’s fresh rhubarb, I’m going to get the rhubarb strawberry.”

Kietcer was curious about a margarita mix and slid the jar into his cart to give it a try.

“You get a lot of new things in and you find some that are really just a hit,” he said.

Kordner said many of its customers are from Jordan or Belle Plaine, but they come from other cities as well.

The store sells items that can be controversial, such as a yellowy”Trump Hair Cotton Candy” and socks, mints and root beers with controversial sayings, but Kordner said it’s all in good fun.

“It’s funny and it gets people talking,” Kordner said. “And it sells!”

Sarah Wynn is from Chicago where grew up on deep dish pizza before making the move to attend the University of Missouri's Journalism School. After a few stints in London and New York City (NY style pizza may beat Chicago), she moved to Minnesota.

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