Sometimes we take for granted a sweet thing until it’s gone! I remember going to the Landmark Theater and always stopping at the Candy Depot to pick up an assortment of sugar and chocolates to enjoy with my movie. That has become such a routine that I can’t imagine a movie at the Landmark without it! I’m so glad that a new crew is keeping that tasty enjoyment alive. We had a sweet chat with the new owners of the Candy Depot. A lovely couple that is ready to help you out with your sugar rushes. Come meet the “Candy Pushers” Shannon and Melissa Dove.
Cesar A. Reyes (CAR): Tell us about you guys, your individual stories and the story of how you met and how long you’ve been together.
The Candy Pushers (TCP): Shannon Dove was born in Bakersfield, California; grew up in the Woodland and Sacramento area until moving to San Diego in 2009 where she fell in love with the city. Her first job was at a frozen yogurt and candy shop at the age of 14. Over the years, she has done almost everything you can do in the customer service field, from retail to a veterinary technician to a founding member of a local LGBTQ nonprofit, Canvass for a Cause, until it closed its doors in December of 2015.
Melissa was born and raised in the Los Angeles area. She attended California State University, Chico and earned her degree in Public Relations and Marketing in 2001. She moved to San Diego in 2011. Over the years, she has held several positions in sales, marketing, merchandising, grocery, retail and customer service.
The two met at the popular Lesbian bar Gossip Grill in 2012, and Shannon knew immediately that Melissa was her soulmate. While they were courting each other, they enjoyed going to karaoke nights and singing their hearts out. In 2014, Shannon asked Melissa to marry her at a surprise proposal on a karaoke night at Gossip Grill with all their friends surrounding them and Melissa said yes! They were married on their 5-year anniversary in 2017 at Sunset Cliffs and celebrated their reception at Gossip Grill. They have been together for eight years and married for three.
In 2015, the couple started working part-time doing security at The Observatory in North Park and discovered that they worked well together. They combined their skill sets and became the Dynamic Dove Duo by providing security, door and catering services for special events. They also ran their own house-cleaning business, White Dove Cleaning.
CAR: What motivated you guys to take over Candy Depot?
TCP: One day in 2016, Melissa was having a rough day, so Shannon went to Candy Depot to buy her some truffles to bring a smile to her face. She met the owner Kathy that day, who proceeded to tell her she had the perfect candy store personality and asked if she was interested in a part-time job. Shannon started working for Kathy and Doug just a few days later and spent three years helping them build the business. Shannon loved her job so much that she told Melissa that she wanted to own a candy business of her own and Melissa was totally onboard with the idea. They founded The Candy Pushers in 2018, a mobile candy business where they pushed a cart full of candy around at various events throughout San Diego.
In June of 2020, Doug called Shannon and said they decided to leave the candy business. Since Candy Depot had been operating in the heart of Hillcrest for almost 26 years, they could not bear to just close the doors. He explained to Shannon that she had been the heart and soul of the candy shop and he knew that her passion for the business would enable Candy Depot to thrive and grow. Shannon and Melissa knew they had to say yes and on July 1, became The Candy Pushers of Candy Depot. They are the first LGBTQ+ owner/operators of the “old school” candy shop.
CAR: What can customers discover from the new Candy Depot?
TCP: Since taking over the business on July 1, Shannon and Melissa have added to the 500-plus varieties of candy, freshly made fudge and specialty chocolates by introducing a line of CBD fudge, a delicious vegan line of candy, and specialty soda ice-cream floats. All the sodas are made with pure cane sugar and they have a dairy-free option of vanilla ice cream. They are working on bringing in more sugar-free, sugar-substitute and no-sugar-added items for diabetics and folks who cannot have sugar. Their petite shop will bring you back to your childhood with candy that spans decades.
CAR: What are your hours of operation? And can people pre-order for pick up or delivery?
TCP: [Candy Depot hours are] Monday, 10:30 a.m.-3 p.m.; Tuesday closed; Wednesday, 10:30 a.m.-3 p.m.; and Thursday-Friday. 10:30 a.m.-6 p.m. They offer pre-order for pickup and delivery. Melissa will deliver within a 12-mile radius of Candy Depot. Customers can go to the website www.candydepotusa.com and check out the menu, it has been updated. They recently added an online store to the website, and they are working on adding all the inventory. Customers can send an email of what they would like and either Shannon or Melissa will respond and get the order together and ready for pick up, delivery or shipping.
CAR: How has the pandemic affected the launch of the business?
TCP: Candy Depot has been able to be open by following and surpassing Health Department guidelines. Before the pandemic, the shop was open seven days a week and had late-night hours, now they are open six days a week and have limited hours.
CAR: What would you like the community to know?
TCP: Shannon and Melissa are the first LGBTQ+ owner/operators of Candy Depot and are proud to serve their community. They are aware these are trying times for people and are here for everyone’s sweet treat needs. Customers can come in and create their own bag of goodies, they can get as little or as much as their heart desires, there is no judgement in their candy shop. Their motto is, “Treat yourself…you deserve it!” The Candy Pushers of Candy Depot look forward to providing their customers with a fun, friendly and flavorful experience. They have given the inside of the candy shop a little facelift with new paint, new flooring and have changed the window displays as well as worked to make the outside inviting and more visible by adding a Pride flag to the neon sign on Fifth Avenue and brought bistro seating and umbrellas for our customers to enjoy their treats.
CAR: How can the community show support?
TCP: Come and visit Shannon and Melissa to purchase some candy, fudge or specialty soda ice-cream floats. Have a seat outside, enjoy your sweet treats and watch the world go by.
CAR: What are your hopes for the future?
TCP: Shannon and Melissa look forward to serving up sweet treats for many years to come. They would like to eventually expand to a larger space while staying in the heart of Hillcrest. In the future when large gatherings, events and music festivals are allowed again, they would like to get their candy truck and bring The Candy Pushers to an event near you.
3955 Fifth Ave # 110, San Diego, CA 92103