Feb. 24 2012 12:00 AM

Fran's House & Rudy's Kitchen/See's Candies


If See’s Candies doesn’t sound familiar, think back to the days of “I Love Lucy.” Remember the episode in which Lucy and Ethel are working at a candy factory and stuff their mouths with chocolates while working on the assembly line? That iconic scene was filmed in the first See’s Candy factory in Los Angeles in 1952.

See’s “has a following, like a cult following,” said Canaan Johnson-Bey, head board member of the recently opened Fran's House & Rudy's Kitchen/See’s Candies store in Lansing.

Even in the days when Lucille Ball was ruling the airwaves, See’s was already an established business. It began in Los Angeles in 1921 when the See family arrived from Canada. The Sees expanded their confectionery business throughout California before taking the company nationwide.

A nonprofit store, Fran's House & Rudy's Kitchen helps organizations such as Volunteers of America to plan fundraisers with its candy. The See's product line includes chocolates, toffees, brittles, truffles, lollipops and candy bars, as well as sugar-free and kosher selections.

The business had already had successful stints in seasonal locations before moving into its new home.

“We were in Frandor and Meridian Mall a week up to Thanksgiving,” Johnson-Bey said. “Everybody wanted us to stay around.”

Johnson-Bey said he has already heard from local See’s fans.

“When I saw how people reacted to it — people coming in with smiles, telling their stories, having fun with the candy — I knew that this is something I would enjoy doing every day,” he said. “You really feel like you’re doing a service to your community. I couldn’t wake up a day mad in my life.

“Even in a bad economy like this people tend to come out and support something they have a history with.”

Fran's House & Rudy's Kitchen/Sees Candies
1500 E. Michigan Ave., Lansing
10 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Saturday; noon-5 p.m. Sunday
(947) 517-7337