Undaunted, Shaw’s Gears Up for Halloween
Nothing curbs the festive spirit of the Holidays
•••••••••• October 16, 2023 ••••••••••
As autumn pushes towards winter, besides a hearty stew with brisket, candy is a comfort food like few others. Of course, it’s only a treat, not a food! But with Americans buying over $42 billion in candy annually, Shaw’s Candy & Ice Cream on West Portal Avenue definitely knows the ‘sweet spot’ of people’s taste.
With the departure of See’s Candies on Irving Street and at Stonestown Galleria some years back, Shaw’s is perhaps the only locally owned candy shop in the neighborhood, filling in the void.
Taking over a 90-year-old shop has been daunting, especially on the heels of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021. The demolition and then reclamation of an old relic of a candy store has been a “strange trip.”
Owner Diana Zogaric explained. “When I was growing up in Michigan, my father had a catch-all phrase to mollify the usual childish complaints… ‘This too shall pass.’ I have little doubt that these oddest of times will soon pass, as well,” she added.
... Zogaric has little time to bemoan obstacles or complain about setbacks. She keeps in mind that the original owner, Douglas Shaw, was determined, if not daring, to open a business during the Great Depression in 1931.”
With Halloween here and the holiday season quickly approaching, Zogaric has little time to bemoan obstacles or complain about setbacks. She keeps in mind that the original owner, Douglas Shaw, was determined, if not daring, to open a business during the Great Depression in 1931.
Like Shaw, Zogaric aims to “share a bite of raspberry fudge with a picky party planner or offer a taste of Ube ice cream to a curious first-time visitor.”
And, when the Westside Observer inquired: what is the most popular candy for Halloween? She responded, “Definitely candy corn is #1, Then Halloween novelties like skull candies, taffy, sour pumpkins, etc.”
For those who enjoy anything pumpkin (especially patrons of Starbucks and Peet’s) during the fall season, “we will make pumpkin fudge and we sell cute pumpkin truffles,” said Zorgaric.
Preparing for “trick or treaters, Shaw’s has its Halloween surprises. “I handed out smarties last year,” said Zogaric, “warheads the year before. Kids definitely like the sour, but I’m surprised at how excited they all got by smarties — they’re such a simple classic. I’ll probably hand them out again.”
Along with candy corn, Reese’s Peanut Butter cups are a popular staple for Halloween. Part of the reason peanut butter cups are a hit is because of the distinctive flavor combination. Ironically, it’s estimated that 3 million Americans suffer from an allergic reaction to nuts or chocolate. Even so, the peanut butter cup remains a popular choice at Halloween and throughout the year.
Another reason the peanut butter cup is so popular is the travel or “fun size.” America’s sweet tooth increased during the post-WWII era as the “fun size” was introduced.
Yet for dedicated fans of peanut butter cups, Shaw’s has something special Zogaric said, “We have jumbo peanut butter cups that taste like a Reese’s. But it’s an upgrade!”
Shaw’s is more than just candy. There’s ice cream too! “We will rotate Mitchell’s flavors- pumpkin, cinnamon snap, for fall,” said Zogaric “to peppermint stick and eggnog for the holidays.”
Zogaric wants people to know that if you’re planning a party, Shaw’s can help, “what about a gingerbread-making party?” She and her staff have lots of ideas.
Meanwhile, as autumn slips into winter, “We will continue with pumpkin fudge until Thanksgiving,” Zogaric said.
To learn more about Shaw’s Candy & Ice Cream at 122 West Portal Ave, visit Shaw’s website. Or call 415-683-5626.
Jonathan Farrell is a local reporter.
October 16, 2023