How sweet it is!
Sweet Tooth Candies, which has been around for 50 years, sells chocolate candies, ice cream, ice balls, malts, shakes, and many candies from other companies.
And the sweet shop’s history is as rich as the flavor of its candy.
Robert Schneider founded Schneider’s Sweet Shop in 1939 in Bellevue. He managed the shop with his wife, Lill. Their son, Bob Schneider, established Sweet Tooth Candies in Newport in 1972. Bob and his wife, Norma, operated the business from 1972 until late 2020, when they sold it.
Sweet Tooth Candies now belongs to Robert Baker and the owners of Pompilios: Mike Mazzei, Joe Bristow, and Larry Geiger. Joe and Larry started working at Pompilios when they were young. They bussed tables, served, worked their way up to management, and are now co-owners of Pompilios.
Joe and Larry grew up in Newport and have fond memories of eating Sweet Tooth’s signature ice balls, caramel apples, and Christmas candy.
Pompilios premiered in Newport in 1933. The Mazzei family – Mike’s grandmother, father, and uncle – purchased Pompilios in 1982. In 2011, Mike Mazzei, Joe Bristow, and Larry Geiger became the owners and managers of Pompilio’s.
Mike Mazzei’s daughter, Alyssa Mazzei Baker, is married to Robert Baker. Alyssa is a Lutheran minister and has a master’s degree in Theology from Southern Lutheran Theological Seminary in South Carolina. She grew up in Cincinnati and spent much of her childhood at Pompilios. Though busy with her day job, Alyssa makes time to help manage Sweet Tooth Candies with her husband.
“I like doing this,” she said. “I get to be a part of the lives of the kids who come to work here and help them out. It’s enjoyable to get to see the kids come in here and order ice cream and get really excited, and to meet families here in town.”
Robert Baker was born in Cleveland and is the first chef in his family. He studied baking and pastries at Sinclair College in Dayton, Ohio. After graduation, Robert worked as a pastry chef for several restaurants. Baker moved to Springfield in 2018 after he met Alyssa, and the two later married.
Pompilios’ purchase of Sweet Tooth allowed Baker the opportunity to leave the restaurant business and become a part owner of Sweet Tooth Candies and its primary operator. Robert and Alyssa moved to Newport in April 2022.
“This place fits my personal aesthetic. I did the pastry chef route when I was in college,” Robert stated. “I did an apprenticeship in confectionery. I always enjoyed confectionery. Generally speaking, that’s a small niche. When this opportunity came up with Alyssa’s father and his two business partners, I jumped on it.”
Robert said he really likes living in Northern Kentucky so far.
“Northern Kentucky and the Cincinnati region have provided friends, family, and a community that we instantly fell in love with,” he said. “We’re happy to keep the tradition of great candy alive in West Newport.”
“I’ve always liked hand-crafted products and being a part of the community. It’s important to me to be physically in the community that we are selling to – to know who they are,” she said. “I like Northern Kentucky. I like Newport specifically. It’s a small-town feel but you’re still in a big city.”
Sweet Tooth Candies retail store is well-known, but the company owns a factory that is lesser known. Sweet Tooth’s factory supplies the candy for the store and its online shipping business. Robert Baker produces the candies and manages the store and its factory. They ship candies from the factory to places as far as England and China. Many of the online customers are from locations such as Florida, from former NKY folks who moved there.
The retail store sells over 50 types of candy that they purchase from vendors including Swedish fish, gumballs, candy buttons, lemon drops, and gummy bears. Sweet Tooth makes 26 categories of chocolate candies. The best-selling candies are dark chocolate opera creams, milk caramel turtles, milk ganache, and chocolate-covered cherries.
Sweet Tooth Candies sells 17 flavors of ice cream, malts, and shakes: vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, butter pecan, banana, cookies & cream, salty caramel, chocolate chip, cookie dough, strawberry chocolate chip, chocolate chip, mint chocolate chip, double chocolate chip, black raspberry chocolate chip, banana chocolate chip, peanut butter chocolate chip, and coconut chocolate chip.
Their ice balls are popular in the summer but are available all year round. An ice ball is a Cincinnati version of a snow cone. Many people get ice cream in the middle of an ice ball. Sweet Tooth has 18 flavors of ice balls: cherry, grape, lime, lemon, nectar, orange, root beer, blue raspberry, tigers’ blood, rainbow, piña colada, black raspberry, strawberry, cotton candy, watermelon, pineapple, and peach.
Sweet Tooth offers five kinds of sundaes: original (with the option to add whipped cream and/or nuts), deluxe, turtle, banana split, and chocolate brownie. There are eight sundae flavors: chocolate, strawberry, pineapple, marshmallow, butterscotch, bittersweet, hot fudge, and hot caramel.
They serve several, rotating flavors of gelato. Strawberry and vanilla gelato are currently on the menu. The store also sells three flavors of homemade, dairy-free ice cream: chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry.
Sweet Tooth offers ice cream nachos, which are ice cream sundaes that come with waffle cone chips. People use the waffle cone chips to scoop up the ice cream similar to the manner that they use nacho chips to scoop up salsa or queso cheese.
The retail shop sells caramel apples annually but only from the latter part of September to the end of October.
They sell craft sodas: grape, orange, diet root beer, creamy red, cream cane sugar, birch, blackberry cane sugar, and Red Bull. The shop also sells bags of ground and whole-bean coffee.
Sweet Tooth has business connections to Pompilio’s. The retail store sells Pompilio’s Bolognese sauce, marinara Classico sauce, and spice packets at Sweet Tooth. They participate in Newport Italian Festival and make desserts for Pompilio’s Taste of Cincinnati. Pompilio’s sells Sweet Tooth boxes of chocolate.
Alyssa and Robert are celebrating Sweet Tooth’s 50th birthday and looking ahead to Christmas.
“It’s been well-known that for 49 years, Sweet Tooth has provided a delicious quality product to her community. And in its 50th year and for 50 more we hope to keep that tradition alive,” Robert said. “Christmas is coming up. It’s the biggest time of the year for us. Candy makes a great present. It’s not just for grandmas to buy for their grandkids. It’s an enjoyable, sharable product.”
“We’re a local business. And it’s really easy during the Christmas season to get a part of that rush and want to find everything that is convenient. But coming to the local store and supporting us is supporting actually the community as well,” Alyssa added. “We’re here to be a positive place for kids to come, a safe place for kids to be in the west side of Newport.”
IF YOU GO
Sweet Tooth Candies Store
125 West 11th Street, Newport
They are open Tuesday through Thursday from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m., and Friday through Sunday from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Sweet Tooth Candies Factory
1020 Saratoga Street, Newport
They are open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.