Pittsburg resident Connie McCune always loved to make candy. She did it at home for friends and family for years.

Pittsburg resident Connie McCune always loved to make candy. She did it at home for friends and family for years.

When she retired recently as vice president of human resources at Via Christi Hospital, she didn’t quite know what to do with herself. But one day as she was surfing online she came across a Candy Bouquet International franchise and thought it sounded like fun.

“My husband and I went to Little Rock for a week in August for training on how to make them,” McCune said. “You can do it from home or have a storefront. We tried making them from home, but it quickly consumed the whole house.”

So McCune decided to open her own shop, Candy Connection, at 1310 S. Broadway. But she didn’t want to stop at candy bouquets, and decided to offer selections from all of the brands that are specific to CBI: BonBon, Ganache and Private Label. In the middle of the shop is a large Pucker Powder dispenser, from which customers can fill large and small tubes with the tart, sugary treat.

“It’s like a do-it-yourself Pixie Stick,” McCune said.

She also offers chocolate nuts, chocolate-covered rice crispy treats and fudge, among other confectionery treats, and will custom make bouquets if customers don’t find something they like on the shelf. And she listens to her customers, replacing what doesn’t sell with products they request — she will soon start carrying Jelly Belly brand jelly beans and gummy candy.

“I want to appeal to everyone,” McCune said. “I want them to feel like a kid in a candy store.”

McCune loves candy, but opening a shop wasn’t as easy as it appeared. It took several months to find a location, and then to remodel the interior — the shop is located in what used to be Curves Fitness Center.

“There were all of the licenses and all of the stuff you don’t think about that just magically appears,” McCune said. “There’s been a learning curve, but I’ve enjoyed it. It’s an adventure.”

If business is good, McCune said they might eventually open another franchise in Joplin, and that she might even start selling confections of her own. She said she’s glad they chose Pittsburg for their first store.

“This is where we live, it’s our home and it’s what we wanted to do,” McCune said.

Candy Connection can be reached (620)232-2401.