In a lot of ways, it is a Joliet Area tradition. If you're not from the Joliet area, you have probably never heard of G-Shaft candy. If you are, though, and you have tasted it, your description is probably different than everyone else. Seemingly no one agrees about what it tastes like.
“It’s a hard candy, you kind of pick up a peppermint (flavor) when you first put it in your mouth and then it changes,” Kristine Collins, owner of Dan’s Homemade Candies said.
The candy, which is available only at Dan's, is brown in color and I detected notes of butterscotch or maybe caramel. Readers polled on Facebook said sassafras, anise and licorice among the flavor notes, although I gratefully did not taste either anise or licorice.
What everyone seemed to agree upon, though, was that they loved the candy.
It was such a tradition in a reader named Jenny’s family that they buried their grandmother with a bag of the candy when she passed away.
The candy is now available only at Dan’s Candy. Collins said when her parents bought Dan’s Candies, they were already selling G-Shaft. But back then, it was available in other locations as well.
“That’s exclusive; we are the only people that make it in the area,” Collins said. “It’s a northern Illinois thing its not even really known in the southern (parts of the) state.”
In addition to the popularity of the G-Shaft candy, Collins said the caramel is one of the best-selling items. She said she also sees a lot of orders for the Dan’s version of turtles, which they call Dandies.
“We have a lot higher volume of sales around the holidays because of gift giving,” Collins said.
Of their three store – the original on Cass Street, the Plainfield Road location, which has been in place for about 26 years, and the new Mokena location that opened last week – the one on Plainfield Road is the busiest.
“We’ve got our new location out in Mokena, they’re doing pretty good actually being a week and a couple days open,” Collins said.
The decision to open a candy store to the east came from the large number of customers Dan’s Candies sees come from that direction.
“We do have a lot of customers from New Lenox that always ask, 'are you going to open a store near us,'” Collins said.
Dan’s Candies has been in existence since 1919. In addition to December holidays, the store sees a large influx in October when they create hand-dipped caramel apples.
The three locations are as follows:
- 229 E. Cass St., Joliet
- 1003 Plainfield Rd., Joliet
- 11400 W. Lincoln Highway, Mokena
Want the latest in breaking news throughout Will County? Sign up for our free daily newsletter and breaking news alerts.