Sydney Bogg's: Historic Detroit candy tradition finds new life

By Alex Atwell - Photojournalist, Ken Haddad

DETROIT - Some would argue there's nothing more nostalgic than food.

Sydney Bogg's was a legendary candy store business in Detroit that started back in the 1930s. Bogg and his wife started their business together on Woodward, just south of 7 Mile Road in Detroit.

They lived above the candy store and ran the business together while Mr. Bogg worked his day job.

In 1940, Mr. Bogg had more customers than candy, because sugar and chocolate were rationed due to the war. He described the business as, “The best part of our lives. It was interesting. You were the bookkeeper, the mechanic, the president, the boss, the advisor. You made all the decisions a GM CEO makes, only on a much smaller scale.”

The candy store was a hit. They eventually opened another location next to the Holiday Mark in Royal Oak. In 1966, Bogg wanted to retire and sold the business to his head cook Ralph Skidmore.

Skidmore and his wife kept the business for several more years. Ralph passed away in 1988 and his wife in 1994. The business would be bankrupt by 2002. It sat vacant for years.

When Sydney Bogg closed down for good, the longtime candy makers Debbie and Gary Schlicker, and Lisa Peasley, started receiving requests for candy to be made for special events, like weddings and baby showers. 

At first, they had no ability to help in these cases, as they had no equipment. However, after they had received a substantial number of requests, started to make candy out of Debbie and Gary's house.

This situation was not supposed to last, but it carried on and picked up steam, as people from every event they supplied candy for started to ask, "Where did this candy come from?"

When Sydney Bogg was shut down, some of Debbie's personal items were locked in there. A good friend was driving by the Detroit store, and noticed movement in the building. She called Debbie immediately and suggested she go and get her personal items while someone was there.

When they went down to get her personal things, the man who had bought the contents of the building asked her if she was going to purchase anything. "What do you mean?" she said. "Everything is for sale." he replied.

With that, she called her sister Lisa, and Lisa came with her credit cards and they were able to purchase some essential equipment.

After living with a partial candy shop operating out of their home for almost a year, they realized that they needed to look into purchasing a building from which they could operate and really make this candy business flourish.

More: Sydney Bogg's Sweet Essentials in Berkley

Watch Alex Atwell's Uniquely Detroit story on the revival of the Sydney Bogg's Tradition in the video player above.

 

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