2009-05-16 / Top News

Detroit's Classic Sanders Candy Makes First Appearance on Island

By Ryan Schlehuber

John Coveyou, an eight-year veteran in making fudge, shapes a fresh batch of cherry-flavored candy at the request of one tourist. Making different flavors of fudge by request is an addition to the new store. "We're able to custom-make fudge as long as we have the ingredients, and we can sell it, we can make it," said co-owner and manager Amy Modd. The Mackinac Island Sanders Candy store is the only shop within the company to feature a fudge maker on site. John Coveyou, an eight-year veteran in making fudge, shapes a fresh batch of cherry-flavored candy at the request of one tourist. Making different flavors of fudge by request is an addition to the new store. "We're able to custom-make fudge as long as we have the ingredients, and we can sell it, we can make it," said co-owner and manager Amy Modd. The Mackinac Island Sanders Candy store is the only shop within the company to feature a fudge maker on site. For the first time since its 1875 inception in Detroit, a Sanders Candy store will be open on Mackinac Island. Amy and Chris Modd will own and manage the store, in partnership with Ira Green and Geoff and Keith Lynch. The store, housed at Lake View Hotel, will offer Fred Sanders products.

"Lansing was the furthest I believe a Sanders Candy store has gone north, and that's not even really north," said Diane Lynch, the parent company's marketing and sales manager. She has been with the company for 24 years and is not related to Geoff and Keith Lynch.

Sanders Candy stores once grew to as many as 57 in the Detroit area, but died out in numbers in the 1990s. Today, stores have expanded into greater Detroit once again.

For the first time in Sanders Candy history, the Detroitbased company is being represented in northern Michigan with the opening of a new store on Mackinac Island, the fudge capital of Michigan. Pictured (from left) are owners Keith Lynch, Chris and Amy Modd, and fudge maker John Coveyou. Not pictured are Geoff Lynch and Lake View Hotel's Ira Green, who are partners in the new business. For the first time in Sanders Candy history, the Detroitbased company is being represented in northern Michigan with the opening of a new store on Mackinac Island, the fudge capital of Michigan. Pictured (from left) are owners Keith Lynch, Chris and Amy Modd, and fudge maker John Coveyou. Not pictured are Geoff Lynch and Lake View Hotel's Ira Green, who are partners in the new business. "There may have been an attempt to open a store in Saginaw or Traverse City in the 1960s, but if it was done, it didn't last long at all," said Ms. Lynch.

Mrs. Modd is looking forward to providing a traditional product to an island known for its rich sweets.

"Many people have fond memories as a child of Sanders Candy," said Mrs. Modd. "We are excited to offer our customers a piece of Michigan's past.

In typical Mackinac Island fashion, the store will feature fudge freshly made on marble slabs using traditional Sanders recipes, said Ms. Lynch.

"This will be the first time a Sanders store will feature our product being made on a marble slab," she said. "It is part of the Island's theater, which people expect to see."

Sanders Candies on Mackinac will feature a dozen fudge flavors and can even custom make recipes, said fudge maker John Coveyou. So far, he has concocted cherry flavored and S'mores-flavored batches.

The store is in a space one of the two Kilwin's Chocolates stores used to occupy, on the corner of Hoban and Main streets.

"We were pleased with what Sanders Candy had to offer us," said Mrs. Modd. "We did a tour of their facility in Detroit and they really impressed me. Everything was clean and every product is high quality. They even put their candies through a metal detector to assure the best in their products."

The Modds' store will also feature hot fudge cream puffs, sundaes and cones, malts, shakes, floats, and a variety of Sanders cakes, including the famous "bumpy" cake.

In addition, the store will carry a collection of Sanders chocolates, such as pecan titans, honeycomb chips, milk chocolate caramels, and English toffee, to be available by the piece or by gift box, and the company's signature coffee will also be offered. Its ice cream is made by Guernsey Dairy Farms in Northville, which started in 1940.

"I plan to be open for the first and last boat departures each day," said Mrs. Modd. "I want to be able to allow people to get ice cream in the evenings and be able to get fresh coffee as soon as they can in the mornings."

The Modds have been a part of the Island community for 20 years, spending many summers working here, and lived on the Island yeararound for seven of those 20 years. They have an off-island home in Levering.

Mrs. Modd is originally from Newport, while Mr. Modd is a Traverse City native.

The couple have a 10-yearold daughter, Emily, and are in the process of adopting a daughter from China.

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