Manuel Barba & wife Abigail

Las Delicias Mexicanas isn’t just the name of a relatively new candy store at 2404 Gessner in the Spring Branch Management District. It’s also the name of the line of candies. Owner Manuel Barba is extremely proud of that fact.

“We are the only dulcería (candy store) around whose main products sold are our own name brand candies,” he said.

Barba said Las Delicias Mexicanas also carries candies that cannot be found anywhere else, other than perhaps their other locations, too, in Pasadena and in near north Houston.

“We specialize in bringing 100 percent purely Mexican products from various regions of Mexico so that we may provide the freshest and tastiest candies to our customers’ front doorstep,” Barba said. “And if we don’t carry it, we will bring it upon request.”

Candy isn’t the only product found at the shop. They also offer custom piñatas, micheladas (a drink made with beer, lime juice and various spices) and carry “some of the best carne seca that one can find throughout Houston,” Barba said.

Carne seca is basically Mexican beef jerky.

Las Delicias Mexicanas opened in the Spring Branch District in November.

By chance, the candy shop is located right next door to Smile Sonrisa Dental & Orthodontics, where you can get your teeth cleaned after partaking in the sweet treats curated by Barba and his family.

Formally, the Spring Branch store is Las Delicias Mexicanas #3. The first location at 1777 Airline Dr. in Houston, opened in 2008. A second one at 2636 Spencer Highway in Pasadena opened in 2020.

“As I scouted the area I quickly saw that there was an absence within the Spring Branch community in regard to authentic Mexican candy and other Mexican delicacies that we offer,” Barba said. “We were delighted to fill the void.”

Barba said they picked the spot on Gessner because of how busy the area is.

Born in Monterrey, Mexico, Barba said he grew up in Baytown, where Las Delicias Mexicanas was created around the kitchen table with his parents, Manuel Barba Sr. and Sidalia Barba, and his siblings — brother Daniel Barba and sister Nancy Orellana

“The first business model was purely distribution of our name brand candies, which are traditional, artisanal candies including dulce de leche, caramelized fruit, praline peanuts, coconut, guava rolls and peanut patties,” Barba said.

In 2008, Barba said, his dad decided to rent a storefront on Airline Dr., when they also made the decision to incorporate other well-established Mexican candy brands to provide customers with a larger selection of delicacies.

“Throughout the years our business model has transformed and branched out to the point where we now distribute candy as well as groceries from the Valley to Austin, Dallas, Oklahoma and even as far out as Arkansas and New Orleans,” Barba said.

His parents are now solely responsible for product acquisition in Mexico. His brother-in-law, Fernando Orellana, is in charge of distribution and the Barba brothers mainly run the brick and mortar stores.

Soon, Barba said, they plan to expand by incorporating e-commerce and offering a paid subscription option. Social media already drives business, with chamoy pickle and Slime Lickers ranked the best sellers at the shop due to its trending on TikTok, he said.

Barba added: “We have a good social media presence and love to engage with our customers directly, which is not something that corporate candy stores do.”

Las Delicias Mexicanas #3
2404 Gessner Rd., Suite C
Houston, TX 77080

— By Dorothy Puch Lillig