For those with a sweet tooth, 285 Robbins Lane in Syosset—better known as the home base of Metro Candy and Nut/Sweet City Candy—can be seen as a Shangri-La of sorts. It’s a warehouse filled to the brim with every conceivable confectionery creation one can imagine, with the only thing missing being few Oompa Loompas and a chocolate waterfall.
The business—which first opened its doors in 1995—is broken up into two components: Metro Candy and Nut, which is strictly a national candy wholesaler, and Sweet City Candy, which sells to the public via their website. Founded, owned and operated by Alan Bialek of Jericho and Jeff Goldstein of East Meadow, Metro got its start when the candy company that Goldstein was working for previously went out of business.
“I used to be in a lot of bands and wanted to be a rock star, but that didn’t pan out. Instead I got into the candy wholesale business. I’ve been doing it since I was 19,” he said. “The company I worked for eventually closed and at the time I was friends with Alan, and we got to talking about starting our own candy business and picking up where my old company dropped off.”
“I was in the retail business for 20 years, buying from the company that Jeff worked for,” Bialek said. “When Jeff’s boss told me they were closing I asked to speak to Jeff about going into business. They put the two of us into a conference room and that’s how Metro Candy came to be.”
After deciding upon their current 7,500 square-foot warehouse location in Syosset, deemed ideal due to its proximity to the Long Island Expressway, they opened Metro Candy and Nut and started wholesale selling to retailers across the country. Later, when e-commerce hit its stride, the two founded Sweet City Candy, which sells to the general public. While at the moment, walk-in consumers are not allowed to come and purchase their wares, the possibility exists for this to be added in the future, Goldstein said.
“We get a lot of people calling, asking if they can come down and go through the warehouse,” he said. “That’s why we first started Sweet City Candy, due to the demand, and if enough people want to come here and buy direct, we may eventually allow that.”
“We’re strictly a cash-and-carry warehouse right now and we can either ship to you or you can come and pick up your order,” Bialek added. “But a lot of customers like to come in and walk around. We’re sort of like a BJ’s or Costo, but with candy. More businesses these days are closing, a lot of the mom and pop candy stores, and people are calling us about coming in. There might be something to it. It’s just another way to generate revenue.”
You’d think that working in a candy warehouse would be a potentially fattening experience for anyone with a sweet tooth. However, Goldstein—himself conspicuously slender—was quick to dispel that myth.
“Of course, at first you would snack all the time, but eventually you get sick of it,” he said. “It’s like that in any business. I have friends who worked in pizza parlors who don’t even want to look at a pizza. It’s the same here. It’s still fun to grab something here or there, but for the most part I’ve had enough.”
With the future looking bright for both Metro Candy and Nut and Sweet City Candy, the two longtime friends and partners said that the business of slinging sweets has been good to them throughout the years, and they can’t wait to see what direction it takes them in next.
“Sometimes it’s just work, but most of the time it’s a lot of fun,” Bialek said. “I enjoy coming to work every day, and you can’t really ask for more from a job than that, can you? Besides, we have the added bonus of snacking on the job if we want, but like Jeff said, we do a lot less of that these days.”
To find out more, visit www.metrocandy.com or www.sweet