JORDAN, Minn. - With its screaming yellow paint, Minnesota's Largest Candy Store was already hard to miss.
A 60-foot-tall yellow dome won’t make it stand out any less.
“Bigger than life I hope,” laughs Robert Wagner, who owns the store along Highway 169 south of Jordan.
Over the past few years Wagner has helped turn a family apple barn into a football-field-length tourist attraction.
“My dad built the original barn when I was a senior in high school,” says Wagner nearly 40 years later.
More than a half dozen expansions preceded the latest, a silo-like structure to complement the barn.
“The night before the lift I couldn't sleep,” says Wagner of the 85,000-pound dome. “We brought in two cranes and made it all happen in one smooth go.”
The scene inside the store is hectic as construction continues, even as candy is stocked in advance of Saturday’s opening.
“Lots of interest, lots of people stopping by trying to get in,” says Renee Wagner, Robert’s wife.
The new addition is decorated in a science fiction theme, compete with a massive rotating ceiling Wagner describes as “a reproduction of the constellation Carina as photographed by the Hubble telescope.”
A series of 12 motors will lift and lower space ships, rockets and other objects above the heads of candy shoppers.
“This was a big step for us,” says Wagner of his most ambitious expansion yet.
Jordan High School art teacher Jessica Barnd painted the ceiling. On Monday she lent her steady hand to the candy store’s animatronic band, another new addition.
The expansion will create space for new candies too, especially varieties from overseas.
Both inside and out, the expansion is miles away from the chain stories Wagner eschews.
“For the most part they're all the same, and that's just boring," Wagner says. "This is fun,”