Volume 15, Issue 76  |  September 22, 2023SubscribeAdvertise

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Guest Column

Candy Baron: A Laguna Beach institution

By Paula Hornbuckle-Arnold, Chairwoman, Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce 

The Chamber Spotlight is meant to highlight a unique business member of the Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce.

Originally from the United Kingdom, Ron Baron always dreamed of opening a candy store in America to bring a vast array of quality candies to the states. In 1992, Baron’s dream came true. He opened his first of what would become 10 locations in the City of Monterey, Calif. Laguna Beach became his second spot.

Baron passed away in 2015, but he had made plans to keep the business alive. He gifted it to his daughter, Lisa Baron, and longtime employee, Luz Ong, who had managed his San Francisco location since 2003.

I sat down with Ong to learn a little more about the Candy Baron and the man who started it all.

“Ron was known for being generous to his employees,” said Ong. “He was known to give cars, Rolex watches and such to loyal people who he believed served him well. He loved the candy business and brought his love to the people who worked for him.”

Guest Column 2 kids

Click on photo for a larger image

Photos courtesy of the LB Chamber of Commerce

(L-R) Hunter Lanni, age 2 and Mason Lanni, age 4, look through the window at all the Candy Baron has to offer 

Paula Hornbuckle-Arnold: What is the greatest challenge in running a business in Laguna Beach?

Luz Ong: I think the greatest challenge for us, until the Promenade, was foot traffic. The Promenade changed that a lot. More people are having dinner and then coming to see us.

PH-A: What specialty items do you carry that you want the public to know about? 

LO: We specialize in old-fashioned and hard-to find-candies like the Chick-O-Stick, Peanut Butter Bars, Bit-O-Honey, Mary Janes and a lot more. We also carry millennial and new generation TikTok favorites like Toxic Waste Slime Licker.

Guest Column candy bins

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(L-R) Mason and Hunter Lanni pick out their favorite candy

PH-A: Why do you feel it’s important to be a member of the Chamber of Commerce?

LO: The Chamber of Commerce united the Laguna business community and helps us all progress.

PH-A: Is there anything else you want us to know about the Candy Baron?

LO: Ron made it very clear to me that we were NOT to sell the business. He wanted it to be passed down from generation to generation. I intend to keep that promise.

• • •

According to former local, Lindsey Lanni, “I would come to the Candy Baron when I was a kid. Now, the minute I come into town with my kids, our first stop is to the Candy Baron. It’s like coming to Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory!” Lanni said she and her family catch the trolley and head to the Promenade. “It brings back all my childhood memories.”

The Candy Baron now has only two locations: Laguna Beach and San Francisco. With its old school offerings and current favorites, you can find the Candy Baron at the center of the Forest Street Promenade at 231 Forest Ave., Laguna Beach. It’s a Laguna Beach staple – for kids and kids at heart. For more information, visit www.thecandybaron.com.


Shaena Stabler, President & CEO - Shaena@StuNewsLaguna.com

Lana Johnson, Editor - Lana@StuNewsLaguna.com

Tom Johnson, Publisher - Tom@StuNewsLaguna.com

Dianne Russell is our Associate Editor.

Michael Sterling is our Webmaster & Designer.

Mary Hurlbut and Scott Brashier are our photographers.

Alexis Amaradio, Dennis McTighe, Marrie Stone, Sara Hall, Suzie Harrison and Theresa Keegan are our writers and/or columnists.

In Memoriam - Stu Saffer and Barbara Diamond.

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