Candy Cane Lane is famous in Clovis. Enter at Cindy Avenue, near Alluvial and Peach Avenues, and you’ll find a winding, Christmas-tree shaped neighborhood dedicating the month of December to lights and decorations for people to visit.
It’s turned out to be a great opportunity for the people who live there to reach out to the community.
Ben Awad has been running a hot chocolate stand in front of his house since he was fifteen years old. He sells hot chocolate, candy canes, and cappuccinos for one dollar each.
“I was in high school, and I had a long commute to Sanger at the time, and I wasn’t old enough to have a job yet, so I needed something to help me pay for gas.”
Four years later, Awad is in college now and he says that he uses the funds to help pay for his classes.
With college course prices outpacing the funding opportunity of an annual hot chocolate stand, Awad admits that he’s not really trying to make a return on his investment.
He hasn’t raised his prices at all in four years. “The price stays at a dollar no matter what’s going on,” Awad says, “because it isn’t really about the money, it’s about having the experience and talking with other people.”
Awad says that he’s had the opportunity to meet people who are walking around with their family and loved ones, and even met some people visiting from other countries.
“I met people from Lithuania once, and Russia last year,” Awad says, “honestly it’s just cool to talk to them and hear what brought them out to us in Clovis, it’s amazing to talk to people and share an experience.”
There’s much more than meets the eye on Candy Cane Lane. Besides lights and decorations, some houses have interactive elements.
One house has a book where you can write your wishlist for Santa. Another house’s display is dedicated to those we have lost in our lives, inviting passerby to write a note and leave it for the homeowners to honor lost loved ones on Christmas.
The Awad house hosts a mailbox where you can drop off a letter to Santa, and if you leave a return address you can expect a letter in reply from the man himself.