We’re going to state the obvious first: If Willy Wonka (the Gene Wilder version) made a liquor store, it would be The Candyshot. It’s a shop staffed in colorful uniforms, ice cream and soda cases full of alcohol, and shelves brimming with other adult beverages.
We can’t imagine that there’s a happier place you could go to for party prep or to stock your bar at home. We also wouldn’t be surprised if short, green Oompa Loompas showed up to grab an alcoholic juice box or raid the bathtub full of travel-sized liquor bottles.
Melding the fun of childhood and 1950’s nostalgia into a purely adult-focused retailer is what The Candyshot does best.
According to owner Austin Martinson, the idea was pure creativity from the start. “The concept began with imagining access to a thousand different flavors of shots where you could try everything around the world. It evolved and evolved until it became a 50’s-themed ice cream shot with all sorts of unique craft flavors.”
The Candyshot opened on January 10th in Englewood and it took a lot of work to create such a bright, unusual space. “We painted everything, brought in fixtures, put the sign up. We did everything to make it happen.”
Martinson is no stranger to making a business run on his own sweat. A serial entrepreneur, he’s been in the cannabis, car rental, and real estate industries, among others. “I’ve been an entrepreneur my whole life. This is probably my 15th business. Now I’m going to see if I can put some smiles on faces with my unique little concept.”
Martinson said that while there have been a lot of walk-in customers who enjoy the space, calls for service to parties and events have made up a substantial part of his revenue. The day after we talked with him, he had to supply drinks for a corporate party adjacent to Red Rocks. He’s also fielded calls to supply beverages for black tie events and home-based parties throughout the Front Range.
Like any good retailer, when called on, Martinson or his staff can become drinks consultants for his customers. Party hosts can work with them to learn more about unique cocktail recipes or create a signature drink that makes their event memorable.
Sales Associate Taylor Patterson started with the company as the store opened. He works mainly behind the counter, explaining the store to customers. When he’s not talking about liquor or ringing up sales, he spends a fair amount of time on more creative tasks, like applying glitter to the tops of champagne bottles by hand.
“Believe it or not, they’re a fairly good seller. They’re something a little different. If you bring them to the party, it adds a little bit more pizazz,” Patterson said.
Patterson is also passionate about supporting local alcohol makers. “We’re trying to support local as part of our mission. Buying things that are made in Colorado and developing relationships with local craft adult-beverage makers, like Family Jones or Woods Whiskey.”
They’re also not afraid to stock more interesting versions of alcohols. Such as a banana bourbon. Some say it goes well with Dr. Pepper, or with Crème de Cacao and Hazelnut Liqueur. Alternatively, Candyshot customers can find an Old Fashioned mix made with Lapsang Tea for a smoky flavor.
Delivery service factors into the store’s plan as well, serving those that are too far to head to the store regularly. Martinson said that they’ll supply alcohol to parties throughout the Denver Metro and Boulder County, and that any orders of $100 or more qualify to meet delivery to areas up north – psst: that’s you, Boulder County. Orders and inventory can be found on their website.
In the end, though, after a strong start and multiple ways to serve customers, Martinson is excited to see how the business evolves.
“It’s a great little spot. We can’t wait to keep serving customers – whatever they need – and see how we can make people’s lives more fun.”
4107 S. Broadway Englewood, CO