Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Time travel offered free!

Today I wanted to share with you something I'd written several years ago, probably around 2009. At the time I felt it captured how fortunate I felt to be here and to have this place, and yet, you can read the bit of worry starting to creep in....

There’s a moment when you know you have connected with your customer; that you've truly interested them. Perhaps you offered them something completely unusual, or really listened to what they were trying to ask for.

I see in their eyes when they reach for a package of Sen-Sens that they haven't found in decades, upon spying a display of Teaberry Gum, or when they bolt out the door with the clanking bell, to smack their Bonomo’s Turkish Taffy on the pavement just for old time’s sake. The year that item returned to production - much to the mortification of their children - many adults did just that.

You connect when you listen to them tell you about a long-gone sweet shop, a "special place" they would accompany a relative to, perhaps where Grandma went to purchase butterscotch buttons, peppermint drops or candied ginger. It might have been the only place in the neighborhood where a favorite type of licorice was sold and they try to describe it, reaching for words in the archives of time; perhaps it was shaped like a coin, or a button? I point to several choices – no, maybe a little smaller than that they say, trying to picture it in their mind; and suddenly it clicks in mine. I turn to the stash of tubs and containers behind the counter and select a piece of candy - and suddenly their eyes are misty and they are time-traveling, back to that corner shop from childhood. They savor the moment and the taste; silently reflecting; enjoying the treat just as if all the years had not passed. A fading memory of times back in the city, brief sugar interludes after school or a special visit with a beloved parent; I listen to the stories as they spill out their recollections. And I'm richer for having had those chances.

Yes, I believe in time travel, because it HAPPENS here. New candies and treats and flavors of taffy are always coming out and we have many of those things. But the heart and soul of my shop represents a different time; when made in China wasn't an option, much less a standard. It was before mega-marts and big box stores stomping out the mom and pop icons; when independent stores took your money and then turned around to reinvest it in our country. I still do that – I seek out the family owned companies which are committed to offering a product made here with pride – many of them with several generations of candy makers in their families.

And yet, I'm a dinosaur. Investing in America is no longer appreciated; valued, understood. The latest and greatest gummy candy shaped like a popular cartoon figure is what's in demand, and I can't in good conscience offer that knowing it may be laced with toxins. I can however, take you back in time - if you are willing to come in and enjoy the ride.

#oldfashioned #sweetshop #timetravel #whatweoffer #smallbusiness #localicon #finallyclosing #supportlocal
#pennycandy #confectionary #memories  #childhood #classiccandies #after35years #thefinal90 #endofanera


  1. I am half confused about the cultural desire to buy the fad, whether it is good for you or not.
    Back in time is something unable to be captured by only those who appreciate it.
    My heaven will be much like Mayberry - bells on the door and characters we appreciate - not lining up in long lines to get wax candy.
    Why can't we stop the madness and teach appreciation?
    (By the way - have you considered writing as a career? You are very good at it. :) )

  2. Nice that you reprised your post! I think that tastes & smells do transport us back in time, back to when we were young and carefree, and that's why each of these moments are so very special. I feel sorry for the younger folks, who will only remember big boxes and imported candy.

    1. Thanks Lori for reading and continuing to follow this journey.

  3. Beautiful storytelling... I'm glad I read this and I'm looking forward to see where your passion goes next.

    1. Thank you Carrie, I appreciate you reading.