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Forget the beach: This is the most kid-friendly spot in Hyannis

Caramel apples at Kandy Korner.John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

Paulo Paraguay’s kids must think he’s the coolest dad in the world. Even Aquaman himself can’t one-up a guy who owns (drum roll, please) a candy shop with an ice cream counter. Paraguay is the proprietor of Kandy Korner Gifts, a beloved hangout with nostalgia brands of penny candy (kids fill up baskets with their favorites) and hand-dipped confections alike. Kandy Korner’s ice cream is house-made, too, and the favorite of many year-rounders. Upping the Cool Dad Quotient, Paraguay owns a pizza shop, Palio Pizza, down the street. Come Friday, his kids are clamoring for Palio pizza for dinner and KK ice cream for dessert, he says.

The entire back of the store is devoted to gifts — everything from lobster-printed boxer shorts and jigsaw puzzles to sea-glass wreaths and Swarovski crystal-studded jewelry. Sales-wise, it breaks down to candy (60 percent), gifts (30 percent), and ice cream (10 percent.)

Paraguay was a kid himself — age 14 — when he started working at Kandy Korner. Through the years, “I learned how to do and make it all,” he says, “from scraping gum off the sidewalk to making chocolates, fudge, taffy, and ice cream, and buying [items] for the gift shop.”

A chocolate lobster lollipop at Kandy Korner.John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

The first thing you notice when you enter the shop (or peek through the window): a Kandy Korner staffer making colorful ribbons of salt water taffy. The taffy machine is a 108-year-old Model K Kiss candy wrapper, Paraguay notes. They also make their own soft caramels, fudge, and chocolates with filled centers. Top sellers this year are sea salt caramels (for the grown-ups) and sour candy (for small fry).

About that giant stuffed bear that sits outside the shop, “His name is Bert, and he gets replaced yearly,” Paraguay says. “Twenty-four years ago, we bought 25 of him, since he was being discontinued by the Mary Meyer plush company.” They’re down to their last Bert, so get that selfie while you can.


474 Main St., Hyannis. 508-771-5313, kandykorner.com

Diane Bair and Pamela Wright can be reached at bairwright@gmail.com