Owners Gisele and John DeGrinney in front of Lenny the chocolate moose. Maxen Ryder photo

Len Libby Candies of Scarborough has won the Best Candy Shop category in Portland Radio Group’s “Best of the 207” contest. Portland Radio Group, with a third-party sponsor, invited its listeners last fall to nominate and vote for businesses and places in a variety of categories, including Best Candy Shop.

Nearly 70,000 consumer votes were tallied over four months.

“We’re really honored,” said John DeGrinney, who co-owns the store with his wife, Gisele DeGrinney. “Because one of the reasons is that we know Maine has excellent candy makers. Maine is actually fairly well stocked with candy makers who are our friends who are very good at what they do. When we know that’s what we’re up against for these types of competitions, we’re really humbled and honored by the fact that we were chosen as the best candy store in Maine.”

Len Libby Candies is a family-owned, fourth-generation business that began almost 100 years ago in 1926. The store specializes in handmade chocolates and small-batch confections. The shop is also known for creating the world’s only life-sized chocolate moose in 1997. The moose, named Lenny, stands 8 feet tall and 9 feet wide and weights 1,700 pounds. Lenny is on display in the store.

Len Libby sold the store to Dr. Fernand Hemond in 1949, and stuck around to teach Hemond’s son the craft. The store has stayed in the family through the present day. Most recently, Gisele and John DeGrinney took over the store from Gisele’s mother, Maureen Hemond, in 2015.

“My wife’s family has owned it since the ’40s,” DeGrinney said. “Her grandfather bought it from Len Libby himself. And Len Libby was a local person sort of referred to as ‘the dean of Maine’s candies’ back in his day.”

As the third-oldest business in Scarborough, Len Libby Candies is a local family-friendly institution.

“We love it when people bring their kids in,” said DeGrinney. “And it’s sort of a whimsical fun place for people to come in and have their kids see a life-size chocolate moose and come in and see some hand-made candies.”

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