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RACINE — Something sweet has made its way into the City of Racine. La Oaxaqueña, the newest candy store, has opened specializing in dulces and botanas (also known as sweets and snacks).

La Oaxaqueña
Anahi, Benito and Maria Cruz – Credit: Emma Widmar

The Cruz Family has taken 2023 by the reins, relocating their first family business, World of Bridal Anahi, to Mount Pleasant and now opening this new candy store.

New store, old roots

La Oaxaqueña resides at 1405 Lathrop Ave., a location that the owner, Benito Cruz, is familiar with.

La Oaxaqueña
Benito Cruz prepares to cut the ribbon and welcome his first round of customers into the Cruz family’s second business, La Oaxaqueña. – Credit: Emma Widmar

The store officially opened its doors with a grand opening celebration on June 29.

On the Racine County Eye Facebook page, there is a five-minute clip of the ribbon cutting and an inside look at the store.

Benito’s wife, Maria, operated her dress store for nearly two decades in the same building, which now serves as a place to buy chocolates, gummy treats, chips and more.

After watching Benito’s wife become successful as a business owner, he felt inspired to take a shot at becoming his own boss.

“My dad has always had this thought of owning a business himself. He didn’t exactly know what type of business to have at first,” says Benito’s daughter, Anahi Cruz.

La Oaxaqueña
Sweets, snacks and other trinkets await you at this new candy store. – Credit: Emma Widmar

Identity in their business

However, a love for sweets from back home in Mexico and traveling helped Benito decide.

“Right now it is Hispanic-based candy. In the future, the thought is to have a cultural candy shop,” says Anahi. “We’re Hispanic, so we started out with Hispanic candy– with what we know. Then we eventually will do research and get in a lot of stuff from elsewhere.”

Favorite treats

La Oaxaqueña
Hundreds of sweet and snack options are available for a myriad of tastes. – Credit: Emma Widmar
La Oaxaqueña
Dulces & botanas – sweets & snacks – line the shelves of La Oaxaqueña. – Credit: Emma Widmar

When asked what Benito’s favorites are in the store, he said, “There are too many.”

Items like Tamarindo, which is a very sweet and salty candy, are sold at their new store. Another favorite treat is Paleta Payaso, a marshmallow lollipop coated with chocolate that is shaped and decorated like a clown.

While they aren’t edible, the store also sells piñatas and other trinkets.

Traditions highlight the importance of candy

For the Cruz family, the candy store also reminds the family about their important traditions and customs.

Guelaguetza, which is interpreted as the “reciprocal exchanges of gifts and services,” is a common practice that the Cruz family and others from their hometown of Oaxaca, Mexico participate in.

La Oaxaqueña
Customers mill around La Oaxaqueña to see what tasty treats they can find at the grand opening. – Credit: Emma Widmar
La Oaxaqueña
The grand opening saw a great turnout of community members who were excited to shop at the new Dulces & Botanas shop. – Credit: Emma Widmar

Candy is often used at weddings, birthdays and other celebrations with guests in exchange for their attendance and/or gifts.

Candy is at the center of key moments and the family is looking forward to being the place people can turn to, whether it’s just for a regular everyday snack or for those big moments in life.

All in the name

The ethnic candy represents who they are, but that isn’t all that showcases this business’s identity; the name does too.

“That’s the name that represents us,” says Benito about his candy shop.

La Oaxaqueña translates to someone who is a female from Oaxaca.

La Oaxaqueña
La Oaxaqueña had its grand opening on June 29. – Credit: Emma Widmar

Benito’s business will forever have a piece of home, traditions and customs as a part of their store, right here in Racine.

La Oaxaqueña is open Monday through Thursday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., Friday from noon to 9 p.m., Saturday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. They are closed on Sundays.

More information about the business can be found on their Facebook page. Contact 262-770-0932 to get in touch with the business.

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