MINNESOTA’S LARGEST CANDY STORE
NOTE: For the 2019 season, Minnesota’s Largest Candy Store opens on May 10.
Heaven. That’s the word my husband would use to describe Minnesota’s Largest Candy Store. Born with a prominent sweet tooth, which has only grown with him into his 30s, he is a sucker for anything made of 98% sugar. I was almost more excited to take him to this big, glorious yellow barn than I was my three young kiddos. A kid at heart, indeed.
Our family annually (and sometimes more than annually) takes the road trip to Jim’s Apple Farm, which is now more famously called Minnesota’s Largest Candy Store, located in Jordan just south of Chaska. (Also, on chillier weather days, be sure to visit Zap Arcade; for hot summer days, visit Lagoon Park). It’s impossible to miss the candy barn for two main reasons: 1) It sits directly along Hwy 169 and 2) Yellow painted fencing lines a full mile of the highway leading up to it.
Walking into this building makes the diabetic in me want to cower into the fetal position, but so long as I bring my will power and some cash, everyone in our family has a wonderfully delicious time here. Selling candies from all over the world, soda bottles in unique varieties, chips and salsa, pumpkins, baked goods, jerky, flavored licorice, popcorn and taffy, thousands of jigsaw puzzles and novelty gifts, and of course the classic stuff you used to find at the local corner gas station when you were kids (yes, they have candy cigarettes and cow tails), this place will never fail to surprise you!
What is it?
Minnesota’s Largest Candy Store started out as Jim’s Apple Farm, with growing and selling apples as the main family business…until 2005, when Robert Wagner decided to embrace a couple bad apple harvests and convert the barn into what could probably be deemed the most unique retail space in Minnesota. While still a family business that bases its sales on word of mouth and straight cash, they are succeeding in modern day sans a website, a credit card machine, and – weirdest of all – a phone number.
The big yellow barn sells more than 3,000 varieties of candy sectioned off by type. They have areas designated to sour candy, gumballs, licorice, gummies, European candy, hard candy, taffies, suckers, caramel, character candy and more.
Not a fan of sugar? The barn is also known for its jigsaw puzzles, jerkeys, syrups, meats, salsas and pumpkin prices (only $3.98 for any size pumpkin…and they have some BIG ones!). Of course, the one weakness this diabetic can’t fight off is the homemade apple pies. Yup, they’re warm and made minutes before you buy them by their 90+ year old baker, who also happens to be the father of the owner. I also enjoy shopping in their novelty gifts where you can bring home a bag of “bat guano” or peruse goofy socks that say things like “I have to pee…again” (I may have bought those for my mother).
The barn is huge (and they add on more every single year), but literally every inch is covered in colorful displays of temptation. The painted murals and quirky larger-than-life entertainment are a relatively new addition, with representations of your kids’ favorite movie characters and superheroes everywhere you look, a space-themed silo (where the Millenium Falcon hangs from the ceiling), a Chuck-E-Cheese-like robotic band, and a popcorn and taffy ferris wheel. Whoever is in charge of this place has a wicked sense of humor too, which makes the experience awesome.
The massive parking lot, painted murals, comical billboards, and mile-long yellow fencing lining Hwy 169 is apparently the only advertising this place needs (plus a pretty active Facebook page, if I’m being honest). While it’s not open year-round, Minnesota’s Largest Candy Store sure know how to put the sweetest of icings on two of the greatest seasons Minnesota offers.
Fit for what ages?
“Like a kid in a candy store” is more than an expression at Minnesota’s Largest Candy Store. If you can eat, you will enjoy the barn. Grab a shopping basket and go to town collecting fun variations of old-school candy with your kiddos, from candy buttons to Necco wafers. Obviously, know your child’s sugar tolerance and maybe set some limits, but after that boring conversation is had, go to town and have fun! And set aside time to soak in the incredible paintings, sculptures, music, and amusement everywhere you look.
Weekends can be incredibly busy, so hang on to little ones, but I don’t think I can even set an age limit on this one because kids of all ages will love it, including my 38-year old hubby.
How much are we talkin?
Gas money from your house to Jordan + however much you spend on sugary goodness should about cover it. Everything is priced good n’ cheap, but this is a CASH ONLY business and the ATM has a $3 fee if you need to use it.
My caramel apple pie cost $12 and my son’s gumball machine was $5. Small price to pay for the size of the smiles they created. Candy, fudge, popcorn, and sodas range quite widely in price, but seriously…it’s just…so fun. Just know that it can add up fast. I usually tell my kids they can choose two items and they have to be reasonable (in other words, no, you cannot buy the $40 gummy snake the size of your body).
Want some tips?
Most important tip: BRING CASH. They have multiple registers run by sweet family-business relatives who are obviously used to saying, “Sorry, we don’t take credit cards, but the ATM is over there.” Weekends can be insane with body-to-body people, but weekdays are fantastic! Grab a basket as you walk in.
Do not grab a pumpkin as you walk in. They work on the honor system, so you simply tell your cashier how many pumpkins you’re buying and pick them up on the way to your car. A minor point, but something worth mentioning, is to check the expiration dates on some of the candies. Obviously this is unintentional, but you can’t have thousands of varieties of candies and keep them all up to date all the time, so just keep an eye out.
Their parking lot is almost always full so do keep an eye on your kiddos as they run from the car to the barn with pure excitement. The size of the barn has expanded to greatly that it’s hard to keep the family together when you enter, but we usually head straight to the back to get our candy picked out first. Then head to the front to pick out our sodas (and dad’s pie and mom’s salsas and noodles and honey and pancake mix and popcorn).
Bathrooms are located in the front of the store by the registers. They’re adorable and made to resemble port-a-potties (but they’re not…don’t worry). The ATM is also located near the registers.
And if you buy a soda you plan on drinking on your drive home, be sure to stop before the exit door and use the bottle opener hanging on the wall or you’ll be bitterly disappointed when you’re driving home and realize it’s not a twist-off (speaking from experience here).
There are some spots in the store with what some may deem “inappropriate” for children (for example, my son laughed hysterically at a box of chocolate Camel Balls — I thought it was funny too) so just know that if they can read, they can read “Lip Shit” (it’s chapstick) and “Queen of Bitch Mountain” (on some socks). I’m not bothered by this stuff, but I know people who are, understandably.
Jordan is a quaint little city filled with antique stores and if you visit in the Fall, you’re also in prime apple orchard country. Check out Minnesota Harvest Orchard, Wagner Brothers Orchard, Emma Krumbees or Jim’s Apple Farm (which is located right behind the big yellow barn). It is also the home of Zap Arcade, which is a fun place to hit up in the cold winter months. Summer is great in Jordan too and you won’t want to miss a visit to Lagoon Park (and splash pad) if it’s hot out.
Minnesota’s Largest Candy Store is open seasonally from May through November (but open and close dates definitely vary year to year), so time your visit appropriately. And since there is no phone number, it can be tough to check in on specific open dates and times. This can be a negative, but just follow their Facebook page to get specifics.
Hours and Location
20430 Johnson Memorial Drive | Jordan, MN 55352
Open 7 days a week, hours vary by month and can be found on their Facebook page in the About section.
I can’t stress enough that this place is literally impossible to miss. Simply go south on Hwy 169 and it will be on your right. Follow the mile-long yellow fencing until the parking lot. Parking lot is huge so no worries about not getting a spot.
If you want to know ANYthing at all about Minnesota’s Largest Candy Store, follow them on Facebook. The review comments have some information, but other than that, I’m afraid there aren’t a lot of ways to gather more information about this place. Now, aren’t you glad I wrote about it?