Saturday, June 18, 2011

Sweet Memories of Candy by the Pound

     When I was a kid and traveled with my family out West for my dad's business trips, one of the things I couldn't help noticing were old-fashioned candy stores and general stores that sold candy by the pound out of old wooden barrels.  I was always a little sad when we got back home because those types of stores are less prevalent on the East Coast.  So I was super excited when I discovered Sweet Memories candy store on E. Patrick St. in downtown Frederick!
     I think what caught my attention were the gigantic rainbow lollypops sitting in the storefront window.  You know, the kind that they have at circuses and carnivals that are bigger than a child's face!  The kind that made me sticky from head to toe as a five-year-old, but tasted so good that I just didn't care.  Yeah, those!
     Obviously I had to go in, and what I found inside was even more amazing: rows and rows of huge barrels filled with candy!  In addition to the usual suspects that you might find at the grocery store, I saw tons of classics that are harder come-by.  Many flavors of salt-water taffy, gold butterscotches, hard licorice, lemonheads, spicy jelly beans, coconut Neapolitans, peppermint balls, Root-beer barrels... and, so, so much more... adorn every inch of store space.  They have about 65 barrel-candies sold by the pound, and 200 altogether counting the individually packaged candies, such as the giant suckers.  They have barrel candy from every decade going back to 1846.  Little tags stick up from the barrels with a little bit about the history of each one. 

     And just to add that little extra interest to their theme, the walls are covered in vintage posters, like the promotional poster from "I Love Lucy" and an old "Betty Boop" poster.
     According to Christina Chase, who owns the store with her family, it has already begun to create strong attachments to the community despite having only been open little more then a year.

     “We get people of all ages.  With the little kids, they walk in and it’s like ‘O my gosh, I’m in Heaven,’” she said.  “With the older generation it brings up all their memories, so when they have the time they say, ‘I remember this’ and they tell us a story.  That’s what we like about our store, is people let us into their lives."

     It's no wonder that people have developed a relationship with this store when I think of the experience here compared to buying bags of candy at the grocery store.  As I was walking around the store taking pictures, I overheard Christina and her daughter, Jamie, interacting with the customers.  They had lots of fun discussions trying to match up the customers to candies that were right for them, and what went well with what, and so forth.  It is this level of customer service and personal investment on the part of the storekeepers that will always give them an advantage over the big stores in the suburbs.
     Oh, and check this out.  Have you ever heard of a candy store that caters weddings with candy buffets?  Well, you have now!  Not only that, but they do deliveries off their web site.  They have such a uniquely vast selection that they have customers as far away as New England. 
     So who has a Sweet tooth!?

43 East Patrick Street
Frederick, MD 21701
Store Phone: 301-620-4202


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