“I want them back:” Once discontinued, Wisconsin man brings back “Candy Raisins”

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DELAFIELD (WITI) -- It's an iconic gummy candy that has been in southeastern Wisconsin for about 80 years.

They're more than just candy to John Barker. They're a reminder of his childhood.

"I've been loving those candies since I was just a little kid. I can remember riding my bike up to the golf course and going to the vending machine and grabbing a bag and just loving it," Barker said.

In 2008, Candy Raisins were discontinued, that's when Barker decided to take action.

"I thought for sure someone else was going to re-continue making these things and I thought no big deal and then after a few years passed I said I want them back," Barker said.

Barker built and founded Lake Country Candies and spent a year-and-a-half perfecting the recipe, which was tricky.

Although many love Candy Raisins, they can't seem to describe what it really tastes like as the only remnant of a raisin in the chewy treat is its crinkle on top.

"I've heard people say they taste like honey, ginger, lilac, perfume, soap, but they all seem to love it," said Barker.

After years in the making, the nostalgic candy now named Raisin Tops is back on store shelves.

"I think bringing them back and seeing so many people happy about it is what really makes this whole thing extra special to me," Barker said.

Raisin Tops are now available at Half Nuts on 96th and Greenfield.

Barker plans to have his product on more store shelves in the next few months.

CLICK HERE to learn more about Lake Country Candies.

14 comments

  • Kathy

    OMGOODNESS. My husband is going to be so so so happy about this. He, like you loved this since a kid and was so bummed when they stopped. He did find some that were made on the East coast, but just weren’t the same. Can’t wait to get a bag for him. Have you tried to contact Farm and Fleet. They always carried the originals there.

  • Cheryl Sargeant

    They have been making candy raisins for a couple of years now. Many Walgreens stores carry them under the brand Candy Sunshines.

    • Aimee & James

      They don’t taste like the original. This guy worked and worked at it to mimic the original taste. That was the point of this. Numerous companies have been making brown gummy candies and calling them candy raisins but they aren’t.

    • Mary Boisvert

      These candies are so close to what I remember. Their taste is just a little more mild . WHY couldn’t original recipe be bought by Starks? I think a legion of fans would financially support that !!! I use to buy them at Walgreens and they were always selling out in my small town ! Thank you !!!

  • Shunna Dixon

    I love that candy!! It hasn’t been the same since Stark went out of business. The brand that Walgreen’s sale is nothing close to the original, so i hope these are good!!!

  • Brianna

    My grandma JUST bought candy raisins from fleet farm this afternoon :) she will be beyond happy when I share this story with her!!

  • Dan H

    I worked quite a lot this summer on the control system for the cooker at Lake Country Candies. I’m so happy to see the sweet results of my labor. I haven’t gotten my samples yet, but I got to try one right off of the line when we made the first batch and it was really good!

  • c m goad

    Just discovered that candy raisins are back….at Sendik’s! Thankyou Mr. Barker…Thankyou!
    To tell you the truth, they’re not 100% like the originals, but a very satisfying 98% will do the
    trick. Have bought 3 containers in less than a week….have missed them terribly. Bless you
    and good luck with your company. CMG, Milwaukee

  • margaret mitchell

    I’ve loved candy raisins since I was small.We would go to the neighborhood candy store every weekend to get them.I have since moved out of state and cannot find them. I crave them

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