The children of Key Biscayne really needed this. What is it exactly? A modern sweet shop with old-timey shelves called Smooshies. It’s a fantasy land of candy and toys dreamed up by entrepreneur Gigi Alibhai that has everything the kids on the island and the mainland could ever want.
Smooshies (the nickname Alibhai’s daughter calls her two brothers) has Alibhai has upped the candy-shop ante by adding toys into the mix, as well as Cafe con leche, Te de India, Mint Tea, an gourmet baked goods whipped up on premises by Gigi herself. After all, she wanted something for the adults who bring them something to look forward to as well.
Alibhai deserves to treat herself too. Growing up in Cuba, she couldn’t afford toys… or shoes. But her mother worked at a candy factory where the young Alibhai was allowed to go and fashion toys out of candy late into the night. “It takes so much heat and work to sculpt that hard candy with bare hands that her fingertips were literally burnt off. l wanted to eat them, but I couldn’t. They were my only toys,” she has said. Now she is preparing to take joy in sharing her candy and toys at Smooshies with the children of Miami, who not only have shoes, but usually the latest pair of Air Jordans.
Unlike some other technicolor destinations, Smooshies intends not to be just a weekend spot for the wee-ones to feast on almost 200 types of candy, but a place for everyday. “I want to create a fun candy store for children where they can hook up to Wi-Fi, do math homework, or just have fun with friends after school,” Alibhai says, who has likened the concept to a Starbucks for kids. And Alibhai has an answer for those worried about too much candy: moderation. “I’m also creating a whole section of healthy candy such as sugar-free, gluten-free, and organic offerings, so no one is left behind.”
Smooshies is having its soft-opening October 4, but they aren’t making it official til the Super Bowl of candy: Halloween.
260 Crandon Blvd., Key Biscayne, FL