Austin native's candy store sells sweet nostalgia

Alex Harin's Sugar Dealers in suburban Maywood a compliment to Austin's many candy stores, owner says

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By Michael Romain


When Alex Hardin, 31, moved to Maywood from Chicago's Austin community in 1998, he noticed something missing.

"It wasn't as many candy stores like it is in the city," said Hardin. "We had all types of candy stores out there. Out here, you only got the gas station, where you can get the top candy. But with candy stores, you've got every kind of candy — from back in the day when you were a kid."

Hardin's desire to replicate those candy stores of his youth in Chicago prompted hi to open Sugar Dealers, 711 S. 5th Ave. in Maywood, last week.

It's Hardin's first brick-and-mortar store, but he's no stranger to business. The serial entrepreneur, who attended Garfield Elementary and Proviso East High School, said that he has his hands in other ventures, as well.

"I do a lot of business online," he said on Saturday from inside of his new shop. "I sell used cars, I have three clothing lines, I've got my own book."

Even the uniform jerseys worn by his employees are products of his entrepreneurialism — they're products of one of his clothing lines, he said.

Hardin said that, since opening last week, business has been pretty good, with new customers discovering his candy store each day.

The bestsellers, however, happen to be three non-candy items, he said — the snowballs, nachos and Italian beefs.

Hardin is also playing up another sweet deal.

"I've got the cheapest ATM in Maywood," he said, referencing the $2 surcharge to use the cash-dispensing machine in his store. "Other ATMs start at $2.50 and go up."

Sugar Dealers is open 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., seven days a week.

For more info, email Hardin at or call (708) 200-6990.

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