Opinion: The candy man can



Bob Brown of Fishers admits he is addicted. “It’s hard to pass a bar and not feel powerless.” That’s candy bars—and his collection of 1,300 is number one in the world.

The Guinness World Record people established the new category when Brown approached them thinking his huge stash might be worth noting, especially since they were still in their original wrappers. Apparently, collecting just the wrapper isn’t that uncommon.

The collection began in 2006 after Brown swooped up an armful of treats at a local convenience store. He started thinking about how much we associate our childhood with certain kinds of candy. Many of our old favorites have, well, melted away, so Bob believes he has a mission: saving those memories.

Getting in the Guinness book wasn’t easy. Authenticating Brown’s collection required several steps, including that the bars be unopened, rectangular or square in shape, and contain white, milk or dark chocolate. He had to display his collection in public for two days and have a candy expert and a notary present to do the counting. No two bars could be identical. He could have avoided all of this by paying Guinness $10,000 to come examine his trove themselves—a sweet deal for Guinness, but Bob, who sells mattresses for a living, didn’t have to sleep on this decision. He qualified the hard way.

Each bar in his collection has a home inside a shadow box that Bob makes from plywood and Plexiglas. He “jigsaws” 20-30 bars into each 18×24-inch display case, then puts them on his basement wall where they attract a lot of attention, mostly from ants (just kidding)

Some bars contain odd ingredients: cayenne pepper, bacon, corn flakes, pumpkin spice. A few just aren’t very good, Bob admits, but like the endless beer varieties, someone will have a taste for any concoction.  The one with a 1040 form as a wrapper must be a dream for people who wish their chocolate obsession could be tax deductible.

Brown holds a Guinness record for 770 chocolate bars as the official total, but since he has already surpassed this milestone, he is now deciding whether to officially break his own record or just wait and see who is out there attempting to challenge. Brown isn’t worried. “My collection is very different than the others.  Let’s just say I’ve got this thing wrapped up.”