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Pisek store makes name selling tons of holiday candy

PISEK, N.D. -- The holidays are a sweet time for the J-Mart Store here where they usually sell more than four tons of Christmas candy each year. Aileen and Alexander Jelinek started the grocery store after Alexander came back from fighting World ...

Christmas Candy
A boy checks out the Christmas candy selection at J-Mart in Pisek, N.D. The store expects to sell four and a quarter tons of candy this holiday season. Cynthia Johnson / Forum News Service

PISEK, N.D. -- The holidays are a sweet time for the J-Mart Store here where they usually sell more than four tons of Christmas candy each year.

Aileen and Alexander Jelinek started the grocery store after Alexander came back from fighting World War II, says Francis Jelinek, their son and the store's current owner.

But over the years, J-Mart has become well known for its candy.

Jelinek said it started out with one or two boxes of crème drops and just expanded over the years. He said, this year the store has stocked close to four and a quarter tons of candy.

J-Mart sells 66 different kinds of chocolates, jellies and hard nuts. Jelinek says the variety can be shocking for some.

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"People that have never been here before, watching their eyes just light up, watching children's eyes just pop when they see this," said Cynthia Schiernbeck, who works at the store. "They walk in the door and smell chocolate."

"The variety they have, oh my goodness, you just have to look and just have to come and find out for yourself what it's all about," said Doris Kara, a customer from Lakota, N.D.

Jelinek prepares months in advance, ordering the candy in June.

"We usually get it the last week in October and this year we had some variety that came a little bit late," he said.

J-mart store is far from a small town secret, though. People travel for hours to get their Christmas candy here.

"Bismarck, Fargo, Grand Forks, a lot from Cavalier, Park River, Devils Lake," said Jelinek.

"So many people treasure this as their getaway, being able to pick up the old-fashion kind of candy that their grandparents used to have," said Schiernbeck. "It's family tradition."

"I have friends that live in between Cavalier, Hensel and Crystal and through the years we've come here to have fresh unique Christmas candies," said Melody Larson, a customer from East Grand Forks.

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"It's just a fun experience," said Karas. "We always come here. This is kind of our tradition that we do."

Regular customers like her come in and already know their favorite kinds of candy.

"First you really have to look it over and see which one it is or otherwise you've got more candy than you really need," Karas said.

"The chocolate cinnamon Santas will be mailed off to Missouri to my sister Karen and her roommate Barb," said Larson.

"Well mine and my family we like the angel food, chocolate angel food candy," said Karas.

With candy so sweet, Jelinek said he expect it to be all gone by mid-December. Next year, he said, he expects to sell four and half tons.

Related Topics: NORTH DAKOTA
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