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SEASIDE -- Spinning the wheel in this Oregon Coast resort town means freebies.
The Seaside Candyman at Heritage Square Mall gives free salt water taffy to everyone who steps up to the “Wheel of Fortune.”
Hit the right spot and you’ll get a bag of taffy. Miss it, and you’ll still get a free sample.
Store manager Michelle Best spins the wheel for candy lovers of all ages, and grins:
“I absolutely love my job!”
Another spin; another piece of candy.
“We have the most flavors in the galaxy!” she tells Chris, 2, and Nate, 10, traveling with their mom, Krista Leu, from Battle Ground, Washington.
Hospital technician Jay Castro, 29, from Vancouver, Washington, was visiting Seaside for the first time and said he was intrigued by the big wheel.
On other days, owner Autry Ehler stands on the main street, Broadway, and shakes free candy from a huge tube for passersby.
He’s also known to sing and wave an American flag, so is a big hit with weekend crowds traveling the Oregon Coast.
The store was opened 17 years ago by Ehler and his late brother, Jesse Ehler.
The Seaside Candyman calls itself “the best and biggest salt water taffy shop west of the Rockies.”
And it sells more than 300 flavors of candy to prove it.
That includes 156 flavors of taffy, 180 flavors of sugar-free candy, and 70 Jelly Belly varieties, Best said.
Most popular? Peanut butter.
It’s such a hit, there’s also peanut butter and jam, peanut butter and chocolate, peanut butter and grape and peanut butter molasses, all in salt water taffy.
Shoppers get a four-page guide of taffy flavors, from amaretto to wintergreen.
There’s a story with almost every flavor too: The “black widow” is a black licorice taffy with red cinnamon center, created for the Air Force fighter pilots who buzz the Oregon Coast.