Culver Candy Boutique Creates Lasting Memories for the Whole Family
Writer: Flannery Posner
Photographer: Tabitha Dillner
Just steps from the shores of Lake Maxinkuckee nestled in the heart of Culver’s Main Street between antiques, boutiques and local treasures is MJ’s Sweet Tooth. Upon first glance, a passerby might see a candy shop, but after visiting MJ’s, each customer comes away with much more than just candy.
“It’s an experience,” says MJ Kutch, owner of MJ’s Sweet Tooth. “I want to make it fun.”
Bright blue walls accented with a coral shingle awning, antique furniture and crystal chandeliers create an elegant yet accessible Victorian setting. Kutch even goes so far as to dress the part of the Victorian proprietor, donning a white high-neck blouse and a long striped skirt. Signs adorn the walls urging visitors to “create a moment,” “be thankful” and “be the reason someone smiles today.”
“My sayings, that’s part of me. That’s my character coming out,” Kutch says. “The idea of those is if this doesn’t light up your day, I hope something else does. I hope something triggers a good memory or a good feeling that you take when you leave.”
Originally from Michigan City, Kutch moved to Culver in 2006 with her husband, Jeff, and the youngest of their three children after Jeff accepted a job at the Culver Academies. Kutch opened MJ’s Sweet Tooth in August 2017 after selling candy bouquets on her own and at Sweet Treats in Plymouth before it closed in April 2017. She had been selling bouquets since 2014 and now continues to sell them in her shop along with candy from all over the world.
MJ’s Sweet Tooth features traditional candies, many in flavors not found on the shelves at convenience stores: mango lime Fun Dip, lime and pineapple Nerds and strawberry Cow Tales are just some of the unique flavors to be found at MJ’s. She recently added more than 25 new salt water taffy flavors to her collection, too.
Kutch also stocks her shop with options for adults: espresso and latte hard candy, wine gummies, mojito mints, margarita gum and tea-flavored candies. She carries DeBrand Fine Chocolates, a company based out of Warsaw, Ind., featuring their turtles, truffles, peanut butter cups and much more.
For Kutch, MJ’s Sweet Tooth was a way to bring an experience to Culver for visitors and residents alike.
She recalled a time when a man came in with his children and nieces and asked what her vision was for the shop.
“I want to create a memory,” Kutch replied. “He said, ‘I want you to know you have done that with us already. Our kids will go back and they talk about the candy store here, and that’s what they want to come back to.’”
As she looks to the future of her shop, Kutch is excited to begin offering deliveries this summer. Also new to the shop are coffee mugs with the MJ’s Sweet Tooth logo, Godiva coffees, and even more unique, rare and interesting confections from around the world. Always in stock at MJ’s is an abundance of hospitality and positive energy, all in an effort to fulfill her goal to “make somebody’s day.”
“I want to be here for a long time,” Kutch says. “I want to keep creating memories. I want to be that candy store they come back to as an adult and bring their kids.”
MJ’s Sweet Tooth is located at 108 South Main Street in Culver. You can give them a call at 574-842-8880 or visit them online at mjssweettooth.com for more information.