Minnesota’s Largest Candy Store owner shares seeds of knowledge to IBE students

Robert Wagner and his son Clayton Wagner, both who are Minnesota State University, Mankato alum, came to campus with their wealth of knowledge about their family business Jim’s Apple Farm which is now known as Minnesota’s Largest Candy Store.

Speaking to students currently enrolled in the Integrated Business Experience, Wagner told the young entrepreneurs how his business started and how they can maximize their future business.

“I hope that they absorb information that comes from a very real, current, hands-on business perspective. I think that is important to balance that with the textbook,” Wagner said.

The Integrated Business Experience at MSU is a semester-long set of courses in which those enrolled in the program create, market and sell their product to the public. Tied with the College of Business, the IBE program obtains loans from the United Prairie Bank in Mankato and donates 100% of the proceeds to charities of their choice at the end of the semester.

Becoming the largest candy store in the state of Minnesota, Wagner’s daughter, Christine Wagner, also an MSU alumnus, was one of the reasons they continued to sell candy, which eventually took off and became what is it today.

“It started to take on a life of its own,” Wagner said. “She started pushing the candy thing, and it threatened my business and my farming operation and it was very upsetting to my grandfather because it was busier than his bakery operation.”

Wagner spoke about his personal accomplishments and failures he encountered with his business and what he looks for in a product as a candy store owner.

“If you came in with a product that appealed to a 5 or 6-year-old or age range you would be golden in my eye,” Wagner said. “Create something that brings in the children and grandma and grandpa are right behind them.”

Originally only selling produce out of their barn, the candy products were introduced to the store in 2008 after three years of spotting farming weather. Now they sell thousands of candies that range from local to Minnesota to international treats.

During the visit, his son handed out Sweet Tango apples for the class to try as well as their well-known peanut logs made in-house. The “big yellow barn,” Minnesota’s Largest Candy store is located off Highway-169 in Jordan, Minne.

Header Photo: Robert Wagner, the owner of Minnesota’s Largest Candy Store, came to speak to the students in the IBE program on Tuesday Sept. 27.

Write to Julia Barton at

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