Emily Buckley, editor in chief
If you haven’t visited Center Street this month, put it on your Christmas to-do list, and take your family for a stroll to see the candy windows on display at Bluebird Candy Co. at 75 W. Center Street.
Similar to what is done in the Macy’s windows in Salt Lake City, Bluebird Candy Co. owner, Justin Hamilton invited three local artists to create the ornaments. “We wanted to add to what is already happening Downtown with what do: candy,” Justin said. “We hope it is adding a little Christmas magic to our place on Center Street, and plan for it to become tradition.”
The artists, Michael Bingham, Laura Johansen, and Teri Christensen, created ornaments weighing about 400 pounds each, Justin said. Each took a unique take on the project, including one, created by Michael, that tips its hat to Van Gogh’s The Starry Night, with a local twist: replacing the chapel with the Logan Tabernacle. He involved local families to help him glue the thousands of candy pieces onto the styrofoam base.
The candy shop, which Justin took over about two years ago, has a rich heritage and has existed for over 100 years, Justin said. “When I purchased Bluebird Candy from the previous owner [Dick Motta] it was important to him to preserve this Cache Valley icon,” Justin said. “I have the same desire.”
Justin has been thoughtful about preserving that heritage while freshening up the business. “We started on ground zero, with packaging first, going back to the original gold heat stamp on all of the candy boxes and adding a quarter pound option, which has been very popular.”
They also updated the factory, controlling humidity and temperature to ensure quality, and remodeled the store, creating a much larger dining and display area and a large window where customers can view the candy makers dipping candy. “We wanted to emphasize the true artisan part of it.”
They are also now serving pastries and Aggie Ice Cream, featuring a special Bluebird flavor, and will sell about 17,000 pounds of candy during the holiday season.
Some things haven’t changed, though. “We still do everything by hand. The recipes are original from the turn of the century and many of the systems have stayed,” Justin said. “Teresa Varner, the manager, has been here almost 30 years and her mom was here 42 years. That history is the cool part that makes this really special.”