Christmas and Halloween may be the most popular holidays for candy at the BYU Store, but Easter and Valentine’s Day tie for third.
Easter candy sales are affected by the number of weeks between Valentine’s Day and Easter and the supply of candy.
“Last year was a little bit strange because we were shorted one of our most popular candies, the Cadbury Mini Eggs,” said the BYU Store’s candy gift buyer Heather Erwin. “That put a little damper on things.”
Some years Easter occurs sometime in March and other years in April. The amount of weeks leading up to Easter plays a role in candy sales.
According to Elise Mercer, worker at the candy counter for four years and current student manager, candy and decorations are put out around eight weeks before the holiday.
“It gives people time to actually think about buying stuff,” Mercer said.
The bookstore usually puts out Halloween candy in the beginning of September and Christmas candy the day after Halloween. After the break they bring out Valentine’s Day candy and then in mid-February Easter inventory comes out.
The day of the week that the holiday falls on affects the peak of sales.
“If the holiday falls on a Saturday we have less people on campus and they don’t particularly come back to campus for candy,” Erwin said. “That makes a big difference too.”
The peak of Easter sales occurs when the candy is first brought out and then two weeks before Easter, Erwin said. On occasion, Easter occurs the Sunday of General Conference, making the peak of sales that weekend.
“Tons of people come in from out of town,” Mercer said. “They will buy tons of Easter candy and be with their families (here).”
Although the decorations and packaging change with each holiday, the majority of the candy remains the same all year round. However, according to Mercer some candy is unique for certain holidays, like Cadbury Creme Eggs for Easter and Marzipan for Christmas.
The popularity of types of candy also differ for each holiday. According to Mercer, prepackaged candy is most popular during Halloween but bulk candy is in high demand during Easter. She attributes this to the Easter crafts and homemade Easter baskets. In fact, some bulk candy has already sold out this year, Erwin reported.
As a BYU Store staple, cinnamon bears appear all year round in different shapes for each holiday. For Valentine’s Day they come as cinnamon lips, Easter is cinnamon bunnies, Halloween is red devils and Christmas comes as cinnamon Santas.
“Cinnamon bears are a BYU tradition,” Mercer said, as are their sweeter counterpart, chocolate cinnamon bears. Even though Mercer does not personally like the famous candy, she can’t deny its popularity.
“I’m in charge of ordering them and we just bought like a thousand pounds of bears today,” Mercer said.
The candy counter’s fudge is also a favorite among students. Each month features a specialty flavor in addition to the eleven regular flavors. Mercer said the Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Caramel fudge started as a flavor of the month but became permanent due to its overwhelming popularity. According to Candy Counter clerk Michael Erekson, the most popular fudges are Italian Cream, Heath Bar, and Heavenly Hash.
Mercer and Erekson both agreed that working at the candy counter increased their love for candy – being constantly surrounded by sugary treats hasn’t sobered their sweet teeth.
“My dentist really likes me because I have lots of cavities,” Mercer said. “But I get them taken care of, (and) then I eat more candy.”
Erekson also said working at the candy counter has some perks.
“Every once in a while you will be able to sample the candy so you can give recommendations,” Erekson said. “It makes you like it even more.”
If the seasonal candy does not sell out by the holiday, it all goes on sale for usually 50 percent off the next day, Erwin said.