TUCSON, Ariz. — The pandemic has taken its toll on all of us, but some folks are finding comfort in sampling their favorite candies.
Candy sales are making life a little bit sweeter this holiday season for the owners of Chocolate Depot in Trail Dust Town. Scott and Pascale Rail say they love what they do and found ways to serve their customers through the pandemic.
The couple has been selling their special Belgian chocolate, pies, fudge, and toffee for more than 16 years.
“Our pies and candies are all made by hand and small batch. We try to do everything we can do to survive. We make the deserts for the restaurant also so that helps us out a little bit,” Scott Rail said.
According to the National Confectioners Association, chocolate and candy sales have gone up over 5% and premium chocolates jumped more than 12% since the start of the pandemic.
That’s especially true for those trying to find some joy during these trying times. They also say that chocolate can boost your mood.
“Every night that we’re open we have a good crowd of people around from the steak house and they all stop by and get something sweet on the way out,” Scott Rail said.
The Rails had to cut hours and days of operation from Thursday to Sunday but they're still getting a steady flow of customers. The store specializes in Belgian chocolate.
“With the pandemic, we rely on the steak houses foot traffic, the train, the shows,” Scott Rail said.
Scott says wholesale orders on their pies have also been helpful. He's using COVID-19 relief loans to help keep things going.
Tourism accounts for 60% of his business. Experts say 91% of Americans celebrate the winter holidays with chocolate and other candies.
“We spend about 5 to 6 hours a day just to do the chocolate. I hope everyone comes out here to support us. There is a future ahead so we got to keep on truckin’,” Pascale Rail said.
Learn more about the Chocolate Depot at Trail Dust Town at traildusttown.com/chocolate-depot.
This story was first reported by Shawndrea Thomas at KGUN in Tucson, Arizona.