Business is sweet for Socorro's only candy shopkeeper - Albuquerque Journal

Business is sweet for Socorro’s only candy shopkeeper

Rebecca Apodaca shows off one of the candy store’s paletas. The paletas come from Albuquerque. (Cathy Cook/El Defensor Chieftain)

SOCORRO — Business has never been sweeter for Socorro native Rebecca Apodaca, owner of Candyland — Socorro’s only candy store. From paletas to piñatas, Apodaca has created a store full of trending treats and nostalgic throwbacks.

Apodaca is a graphic designer whose work can be found in logos and signage all over town — she even designed the 400th anniversary logo inscribed on headstones in front of San Miguel Church. In 2015, she opened a pair of businesses in the same storefront with her parents Tim and Moni Apodaca. The family businesses are APO Express, a graphic design company that allows her to create logos, signs, brochures and T-shirts for customers from all over the region, and Desert Valley Hemp, a CBD retailer.

Despite already having not one but two businesses to manage, Apodaca decided to start a third when she saw a hole in the Socorro market in 2020. Locals stopped traveling to Albuquerque for as many quick trips — like visits to a candy store — due to the pandemic.

Candy at Candyland in Socorro. (Cathy Cook/El Defensor Chieftain)

When Apodaca was little, Socorro had a candy store off of Spring Street that she loved to visit.

“As a kid, I always liked going to a candy store and I try to bring back nostalgic candies, also the piñatas and a wide variety of the Mexican candies that you can’t really find here, or you couldn’t really find here then,” she said.

The shelves are stocked with TikTok favorites like Slime Lickers and jelly-shaped fruits, nostalgic sweets like Astro Pops and Sugar Daddys, and even a line of Hawaiian gummies made by another Socorroan.

It’s the kind of store where a kid with $2 in their pocket can walk out with 25 and 50 cent candies.

In summer, the top sellers are the paletas, which customers can top to suit their taste buds.

Piñatas, like the custom-ordered excavator hanging overhead, are made in Juárez. Customers can order specific designs, or pick up one of the popular premade ones.

When she’s not taking care of customers at the candy store, Apodaca is next door selling oral tinctures, gel caps, topicals, honey and vape cartridges at Desert Valley Hemp, or she’s working with customers to design brochures, business cards and even graduation invitations for APO Express customers.

“I know without my parents, this would be extremely difficult, but they help me out no matter what. They’re probably the people that I owe the most to, guaranteed,” she said.

Her portfolio includes the annual Socorro Rodeo Association booklet and the printed materials for New Mexico Tech’s inventors and entrepreneurs workshop.

“I stay busy all the time, but it’s never really like work or labor-intensive because I enjoy it so much,” she said.

Apodaca’s business ventures haven’t stopped at sweet treats. She’s developing a small boutique, Bliss 61, that carries local school team apparel and locally made jewelry, located in a space in the back of the candy store.

The storefronts are located at 705 N. California St., Socorro.

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