Joe Bogle has been a presence in Cape May for all of his 59 years. The Fudge Kitchen, the business he co owns with his brother Paul, celebrates its 41st Anniversary this year. We sat down with the smiling Candyman in his office, happily intoxicated by the sweet aroma of chocolate that filled the air.
I was two days old the first time I came to Cape May. I was born in July and our summer home was where Dock Mike’s is now. We lived there for years. Then my family bought a home (I still live in that home) on First Avenue. I’m 59 years old; I’ve been here every summer of my life and for the last 30 years, every day of my life.
My brother Paul and I started a little candy store on the Boardwalk in North Wildwood when we were teenagers. Our plan was to make a little money and go to college. We did. My degree is in Political Science with a master’s in Religious Education.
I like selling fudge better than both of those subjects.
The candy store was a natural fit for Paul and me. Before we went out on our own, we worked for Mr. Segal at Segal’s Candies next to the Beach Theater. They were very good to us.
My mother, Catherine, was our first sample lady. We hand whipped the fudge in the window and people started watching us. She used to stand outside all night long handing out samples. If you have something that’s good and you’re proud of it, you should let people taste it. We are very proud of our fudge and we think it’s the best.
I’m in a business surrounded by happy people. My co-workers are not always so happy to see me, but I love what I do, I love being here. I’m very lucky.
There’s a candy called a Sour Patch Kid and it’s sweet and sour. Most of the times I’m very sweet, but once in a blue moon, a little sour streak comes out. I try to be happy and nice all the time.
I ask the people that work for me, no matter what the circumstances, to be nice to our customers. Being nice is as important as the product itself.
When I’m not at work I love to go out to dinner at the Lobster House, the Merion, the Washington Inn, Lucky Bones, Pilot House, but I never order dessert when I’m out. If I want dessert, I take some candy home. Unless they have Key Lime Pie. I love Key Lime Pie.
I also love Frank Sinatra. I’m the Candyman who sings Sinatra. Did you ever hear my commercials on the radio? That’s me singing … “The summer wind came blowing in…”
I have a face made for radio.