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Saturday, April 4, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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‘It’s chocolate. It’s consistent happiness’: Spokandy plays a special role on Valentine’s Day

UPDATED: Fri., Feb. 14, 2020

Todd Davis, owner of Spokandy, holds one of their Valentines Day gift boxes Wednesday inside their retail shop at 1412 W. Third Ave. in downtown Spokane. Davis bought the business 30 years ago. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)
Todd Davis, owner of Spokandy, holds one of their Valentines Day gift boxes Wednesday inside their retail shop at 1412 W. Third Ave. in downtown Spokane. Davis bought the business 30 years ago. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)

From the mint-splattered sneakers to the milk-chocolate-colored Ray-Bans, Spokandy owner Todd Davis makes no mistake about his confection profession.

“I’m a hands-on owner. I like to be back there (in the factory) as much as I can,” the 50-year-old Davis said with a laugh. “As much as they’ll let me.”

In his 30th year of owning the Spokane-based chocolatier, Davis and his staff continue to pride themselves on their devotion to the original recipes that have made Valentine’s Day in Spokane taste good since 1913.

“This is our quickest, shortest, sweetest holiday for sure,” Davis said.

“Some of the more popular items tend to be our Murphys, which is our founding product from 1913, and then nuts and chews, salted caramels, turtles. Things like that tend to be a real favorite this time of year.”

And it’s not unusual for the factory to push out between 800 to 1,000 pounds of candy a day to catch up with the holiday sugar rush.

Much of Spokandy’s catalog, which includes Michele’s Chocolate Truffles and Helen’s Huckleberry, can be found at Auntie’s Bookstore, Northern Quest Casino, Simply Northwest, Big Bear Chocolates in the Spokane Valley Mall, Winnie’s Hallmark at the NorthTown Mall and its downtown location at 1412 W. Third Ave.

But before the business was a staple of confectionery packages, it was a mom-and-pop operation that embraced Davis as a 19-year-old luminary from University High School.

Even in his job interview with then-owner Kris Howell in the late 1980s, Davis told her that he’d like to take on the Spokandy business someday.

“It was obvious that he knew what he wanted and was mature enough to pursue it,” Howell told The Spokesman-Review in 2015.

Davis has fulfilled that dream and more, hosting a line of over 150 handmade items and a Valentine’s Day selection that ranges from the Sweetheart Basket (23 ounces of assorted chocolates, mints and truffles) to Rice Krispies Treats coated in milk chocolate.

Still, what may be sweeter than the company’s inventory are the traditions the treats represent.

“When somebody gives a box of Spokandy, we want the recipient to know that they really took their time and they really care and spent some hard-earned money to get you something very special,” Davis said.

Especially on the day when candies and cupid go hand-in-hand.

“We’ll have people come in and buy chocolate and say, ‘You know, my grandpa used to buy these for my grandma,’ ” Davis said. “The stories are pretty neat … how they pass that tradition down the line.”

As the traditions associated with Bigfoot bars and Murphys have grown, so has the business.

The wholesale business, retail store and factory have all kept pace with Spokane’s growth, hosting a combined staff of 25 full-time, part-time and seasonal employees in 2020, up from 18 in 2015.

Davis credits the hometown touch.

“I think the community has been very supportive of us. They’ve been so wonderful to us for 100 years,” Davis said. “This definitely goes deeper for me than just owning a candy company – it’s really Spokane’s candy company.

“I love what I do – still. It doesn’t ever really get old to me. It’s chocolate. It’s consistent happiness. We’re selling something fun and that people enjoy.”

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