So Tim Moran, why did you open a store devoted exclusively to cotton candy?
"Because there weren't any,'' the owner of SpinnCandy replies. He smiles. "And pre-packaged cotton candy is horrible.''
What Moran calls the nation's only cotton candy store just opened a second location in Chester Borough; his Mansfield store, outside Hackettstown, opened last August.
Cotton candy -- spun sugar -- is a boardwalk and county fair staple, but SpinnCandy's product tastes nothing like the super-sugary stuff you find elsewhere.
The key at SpinnCandy is ultra-refined sugar and natural oils, and a selection you won't find on any boardwalk; about 30 flavors are available, with 20 right now in the Main Street, Chester store, across from the fire department.
The most popular is blue raspberry, followed by bubblegum and root beer. Other flavors include watermelon, strawberry, pink cherry, orange, cinnamon, green mint, peppermint, grape and green apple.Lexie Naval and Adrienne Impellizeri sample the cotton candy at SpinnCandy in Chester (Peter Genovese I NJ Advance Media for NJ.com) Peter Genovese | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
The idea for a cotton candy-only shop came from a family trip to Ocean City in 2013.
Moran, his wife and their three kids - then 8, 10 and 12 - soaked up the boardwalk experience, which included the kids' first-ever taste of cotton candy.
Back home, they craved more, so mom and dad went to work in their "R&D lab'' - the kitchen, testing different grades of sugar, mixing and matching flavors and colors.
The neighbors were invited over to an "epic cotton candy party,'' the Morans invested in "top-of-the-line'' commercial spinners, and opened the Mansfield store last summer.
"There is not a store like this in the country,'' according to Moran.
There are cotton candy makers, who sell online or at fairs/festivals, but no other cotton candy-only stores.
Cotton candy's origins? "Spun sugar'' was a popular treat in wealthy families in the late 19th century; before the term "cotton candy'' was coined, it was known as "fairy floss'' because it reminded people of magic.
The product was sold publicly for the first time at the St. Louis World's Fair in 1904. The original Fairy Floss machine was patented by John C. Warton and William Morrison -- a candy maker and dentist, respectively.
Here are 15 little-known facts about cotton candy.
Moran hopes to open stores in other towns - expect a Ridgewood location later this year - and he'll soon start stocking spinners so patrons can buy his mix and make their own cotton candy at home.Blue raspberry is the most popular flavor at SpinnCandy (Peter Genovese I NJ Advance Media for NJ.com) Peter Genovese | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
His cotton candy sells for $4 a bag; buy four, get one free.
''They're heat-sealed so they last forever,'' Moran said.
"If you keep them out of the sun, they'll last for weeks,'' he added. "You can put them in the freezer, but they won't freeze. Cotton candy loves cold.''
One high-end fashion house has gotten hooked on SpinnCandy. Prada gives away the cotton candy in department store fragrance promotions.
So what does cotton candy's biggest fan base think of SpinnCandy?
"I like it!'' Adrienne Impellizeri said happily. "It feels like a carnival. I will definitely come here more than once.''
Peter Genovese may be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at @PeteGenovese or via The Munchmobile @NJ_Munchmobile. Find the Munchmobile on Facebook and Instagram.
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