Captain Bubby’s IsLAND Tours has a sweet new partner

New Sanibel shop satisfies the sweet tooth
August 5, 2015 By BRIAN WIERIMA , Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

Sanibel Sweet Shoppe

There is a new opportunity on Sanibel Island to satisfy that sweet tooth which hankers everyone at least once in a while. The Sanibel Sweet Shoppe, at 2330 Palm Ridge Road, opened June 23, and the reception on the island has been, well Sweet! “We didn’t realize until we opened how much a need we are filling, even though it’s sort of a guilty pleasure,” said Beth Musser, who along with her husband, Tim, opened the Sweet Shoppe. “People have been receptive to it, both residents and vacationers.”

Beth Musser, who is originally from outside Trenton, N.J., has been a regular visitor to the island since 1971, when she would come to Sanibel with family. After she brought Tim (who hails from Philadelphia) down to visit, their minds were made up to make the leap south. “Sanibel has always been my home away from home,” Beth said. “When I brought Tim down here, he said, ‘This is dumb, why we are still living in this cold weather?'”

The Musser duo knew they wanted to open a business up on the island, but they didn’t quite have it pinned down to what exactly they wanted. Beth was a longtime business manager and Tim worked in heating and air conditioning. Having the opportunity to be creative went into the decision, because both enjoyed using their creativity. The first notion was to open a bake shop up, because that’s what Beth’s second-love was – baking. But while out looking to buy their display cases, something happened to change their minds. “The gentleman who was selling the display cases in Fort Myers, was retiring from his candy/fudge store,” Beth said. “He insisted that we go into the candy business, but neither of us knew anything about it.” The retiring owner came over to Sanibel and showed Tim how to make fresh fudge, chocolate and other sweet treats. “So we just turned it into an all-around Sweet Shoppe,” Tim said. “This is a unique business here, and there are other stores which may have a little what we have, but we are a specialty shop,” Beth said. “Everything here is made right on the premises.”

So what kind of tasty guilty pleasures can be found in the Sanibel Sweet Shoppe? Fresh fudge is a big hit, including the usual suspects of chocolate, vanilla and maple nut. But Tim also makes specialty fudge, such as Butterfinger, cookies and cream and chocolate chip. At times, the fudge feature display case has 85-pounds of fudge to indulge in. Tim also concocts beach and Florida themed chocolates such as chocolate sea shells and alligators. “I make fresh fudge about once a week and am making chocolate treats on an hourly basis,” Tim added. Other tasty treats which can be brought out on a bike ride or a stop at the beach include lollipops, Sand Dollar cookies (another specialty), Italian cannoli’s, Buckeyes, brownies, cupcakes, tarts and saltwater taffy.

Even on those very hot days, the Sanibel Sweet Shoppe has a cold treat in Italian Water Ice, which is hand-dipped. “That’s big up in the northeast,” Beth said. “There are a lot of good ice cream shops on the island, so we didn’t want to compete with those. So we went with something unique in Italian Water Ice, which is gluten and dairy free. “It just tastes great and it’s a refreshing option to dairy.” The location also struck a nostalgia chord with Beth, who visited the Pine Ridge Plaza many times over the years. “I’ve always loved this plaza, because it has the old-time Sanibel feel to it,” Beth said. “We were very excited when this spot opened up. We want to be a destination for people.”

The most important advice the Mussers are taking, is from their customers. Many have said to sell Buckeye treats, which is an attraction for those from the Buckeye State (Ohio). And it’s working. We are listening to our customers,” Beth said. The ultimate goal is to be known as a quality stop to fulfill the cravings of ones’ sweet tooth. “Some people buy a piece or two of candy, and that’s fine,” Tim said. “But they usually stop back in before they head back home.” The Sanibel Sweet Shoppe is still in its infant stages, but the beginnings have the makings of a long run. “We like right where it is, it’s going well,” Beth added. “We’re going to stay true to our vision and just offer quality, homemade produce. That’s it.”