Oh My Lolli! opened for business in 2009, after Karp was laid off from his job in the automotive industry. After doing a little research, he decided that opening up a hard candy store was the way to go. “During the Great Depression, sweets and entertainment were the businesses that stayed strong,” says Karp, “I’m not really a great singer, so sweets seemed like the way to go.” According to Karp, hard candy is a large industry these days in Australia, but there aren’t very many places you can go to buy freshly made hard candy in the United States.
The store has a huge variety of different flavors of hard candy. At any given time, they have 26 different flavors, and 45 recipes that they can make. Overall, there are 80 recipes to choose from. Some of the more unique flavors include Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal or Chili-Lime. “Here at the store, we kind of think Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal tastes like Captain Crunch Berries,” Karp says. They also have more conservative flavors such as Tropical Punch and Orange Cream. Candy is made fresh every single day except for Mondays. Usually, Oh My Lolli! will produce two to six batches of candy per day. Each batch is made with as many natural flavors as possible, and they only use natural cane sugar, no corn syrup. The candy is also completely allergen-free, unlike candy made by a lot of large companies.
Oh My Lolli! does business in a couple of different ways. The first way, is through foot traffic coming through the store. On a hot day with lots of kids in the park across the street, the store can be filled with kids and their parents wanting to buy lollipops.
The other way Oh My Lolli! does business is through their custom candy messages. Customers can have their business cards, birthday wishes, or other notes printed on candy wrappers and containers. This is Oh My Lolli!’s way of “making your message sweeter.” They can also make lollipop bouquets, center pieces and gift arrangements.
The atmosphere of Oh My Lolli! makes it a great place for a family trip. They offer special packages for birthday parties and field trips to the store. There are three packages for birthday parties, in which party hosts can pay a set amount per person and get a lollipop and a gift token to the store for each of their guests.
Oh My Lolli! likes to be very involved with the community. Each year, they have done a pumpkin carving contest around Halloween and they have a tent at the Brighton Art Fair. They also do a big celebration on the anniversary of their opening every year. The 2011 celebration took place on June 4th. They had live music, a barbecue, a talent show, and a lollipop licking contest. According to Karp, they also like to be involved with Selcra, the Southeastern Livingston County Recreation Authority.
Another way that Oh My Lolli! has helped give to the community is by hiding gift tokens around the Imagination Station Park across the street for kids to find. If a kid finds the token, they can take it to Oh My Lolli! and redeem it for a free lollipop. “It’s like a scavenger hunt for the kids out there,” says Karp.