By Kristine Hansen   Published Apr 09, 2004 at 5:16 AM

There are a few signs that this is not your average candy store. First, there's the $8.50 Dream Apple -- a plump Granny Smith dipped in stripes of caramel, white chocolate and milk chocolate. Peek in the glass display case artfully arranged with (what else?) chocolate pieces, some as much as $28 a pound and with hints of chai or arranged like a S'More cookie. There are chocolate-covered pretzel rods, cherries and Bavarian pretzels, too. Is your sweet tooth calling out to you yet?

But high prices haven't soured the efforts of Tony and Julie Quebbemann -- owners of Apples of Eden, 5612 Broad St., in Greendale (and 13320 Watertown Plank Rd., in Elm Grove) -- to attract customers at their gourmet confectionary. Once customers walk into the large, bright store with walls the color of Granny Smith apples and clerks in crisp, white aprons, they're hooked.

"The heart of the product line is a Granny Smith apple, which is a tart, firm apple dipped in caramel, rolled in nuts and drizzled with chocolate," says Quebbemann, adding that the nut selection includes pecans, cashews, pistachios, almonds and macadamia nuts. For those with nut allergies, their candy apples can be made without. There are also several sugar-free chocolates and candies available.

The Quebbemanns opened Apples of Eden four years ago in Greendale's Village Center, near Taste of Home restaurant and Reiman Publications Visitor Center. But the candy-making started long before that. "We prepared an area of our house, just as a wholesale business," says Quebbemann. Once they had secured enough volume in sales they started laying out plans to open the store. Julie's sister joined in as did the couple's two boys, 11 and 13. The couple promptly quit their jobs in sales engineering and marketing (Tony) and new home sales and mortgages (Julie), in order to devote themselves to the store full-time.

Among the items offered at the store are fresh fruit trays to go (strawberries, kiwis, oranges, grapes, pineapples dipped in chocolate) and tuxedo strawberries (strawberries dipped in dark chocolate and decorated with white chocolate). Tuxedo strawberries are popular for party hosts, says Quebbemann. Staff can also whip up a custom-made party tray with non-perishable items like pretzels and dried apricots or pineapple wedges.

There are 12 gourmet candy apples besides the Dream Apple, with scrumptious names like S'More, Pistachio, Heath Bar and Magic Apple (smothered with chocolate candy-coated pieces). An Apple of the Month is featured; for December it was Gourmet Peppermint Apple, a Granny Smith rolled in caramel and white chocolate, then crushed peppermint candies and drizzled with dark chocolate.

A candy apple has been designed for most national holidays (Easter, Christmas and Halloween) as well as those special gift-giving occasions like "thanks" or "happy birthday." For sports fans, store employees can deck out a Granny Smith with ribbons, a football or soccer decal and, of course, the appropriate team colors.

Once, the store created an unique candy apple for each member of a local hockey team.

"The creativity and the uniqueness of the product get people hooked on it and the quality keeps people coming back," says Quebbemann.

Also for sale at Apples of Eden are international confections like licorice from Europe, truffles from Belgium and chocolate products from Italy. Peggy Carr glassware has been a big hit with customers, says Quebbemann.