Growing up, siblings Michael and Liz Aust labeled their family’s multipurpose closet after its most precious contents—The Candy Closet. When it came time to open their candy warehouse in Signal Hill last year, it was obvious what they would name it.
The Candy Closet is Signal Hill’s only business specializing in confections, with an inventory of hundreds of sweets from Mexico, Japan, Korea, Taiwan and more locations from around the world.
But the main draw, hands-down, is The Candy Closet’s selection of in-house freeze dried candies, including the business’s best seller—freeze dried Skittles.
“Liz likes to call it candy popcorn,” said Megan Aust, Michael’s wife, who runs the business with the siblings. “So the flavor is all still there. It’s all still very much Skittles, it’s just somehow more intense and then you crunch into it and it’s just like popcorn. It’s a crunchy popcorn that just dissolves in your mouth once you finish chewing.”
The Aust trio first came across freeze-dried candy on social media while doing research for their new business, and soon made it their niche.
“It just kind of came up on the algorithm and we were just like, ‘Well, that’s something new and fun to try. Let’s try it,’” Megan said. “And then it just kind of took off from there. It was just on a whim. We tried it and it worked out incredibly well.”
The process involves freezing the candy at -40 degrees Fahrenheit for several hours and running it through a freeze-drying chamber two times to ensure all the moisture in the original candy is vaporized. The result is a crunchy, airy consistency with all the flavor of the beloved candy.
Besides its signature freeze dried skittles, The Candy Closet also offers freeze dried Jolly Ranchers, Starburst, Lucky Charms marshmallows, peach rings, sour gummy worms and more.
As well as freeze-drying candy in-house, Liz also makes her own chamoy (pickled fruit and chili) for her personal favorite, Chamoy Gushers.
Other unique offerings from The Candy Closet include a Naruto Shippuden-themed gummy ramen kit, Numbing Spicy Hot Lay’s potato chips from China and a wide range of international Kit-Kat flavors such as matcha latte, salt lemon, red bean and more.
The Candy Closet is currently operating from a warehouse in a business park near the intersection Junipero Avenue and 28th Street in Signal Hill. Most of its orders are made online and shipped out to customers, although Megan said sometimes kids who hang out near the business park will come in to shop.
Co-owner Michael also owns the nearby Finch and Sparrow Games, a storefront specializing in the game Magic: The Gathering.
The Candy Closet also caters events, bringing its unique candy selections to private parties and creating custom packaging for guests. Megan said The Candy Closet recently booked a Halloween event where they will be providing between 800 to 1,000 guests with their rare and tasty candies.
The Austs plan to continue growing The Candy Closet, and have set their sights on opening a storefront where they can regularly cater to retail customers in the next year.
To learn more or shop from The Candy Closet, visit thecandycloset.com.