Park City loses its beloved Main Street sugar fix
by Steve Phillips
Steve Lund is closing down his artisan chocolate and candy shop on Park City’s Main Street, but the 62-year-old lifelong confectioner says he feels no sorrow over the closure. “No regrets, I was ready to go.” Lund began his career in candy by sweeping and mopping floors at Sweets Candy in Salt Lake City when he was 14 years old. Over a three-decade-span at Sweets, he rose through the ranks to become the factory manager.
After retiring from Sweets and stints managing other candy factories in San Francisco, Denver and Nashville, Tennessee, he came home to Utah and opened his tiny Park City shop. “I love to make candy and wanted to indulge my passion at the grassroots level,” he explains.
Lund, who enjoyed a robust business for many years, links falling sales not only to the crushing economic downturn, but also to a marked decrease in weekend foot traffic after the Park Silly Sunday Market set up shop on lower Main. “People just stopped walking up the street,” he laments.
Lund says it’s been tough sledding for most Main Street business owners, who have struggled to meet expenses, especially rents, for several years. Mom-and-pop shops have been forced out of town in recent years and the exodus is far from over, he predicted. Many empty storefronts have been re-populated by well-heeled chain stores, perhaps more resistant to economic downturns.
Lund laments the town’s loss of character. “Pretty soon, Main Street Park City will look like any other cookie- cutter strip mall. That’s what happened in Aspen and Vail. No reason to shop there when you can get the same stuff closer to home.”
The life-long candy man sees a cycle at work. “Those Colorado resorts saw what was happening and did some things to lure family businesses back. The towns are gradually regaining their character and people are coming back. I think, I hope that’s what will happen in Park City.”
Lund insists he’s looking forward to his second retirement. “I’m going to play more golf, go fishing and spend more time with my grandkids.”
Odds are he hasn’t thrown in the candy trowel for good. Several candy companies are already courting him, eager to cash in on his half-century of sweet success. §