Candy shop opens in Waupaca
Downtown has new sweet spot
By James Card
At 107 W. Fulton St. in downtown Waupaca there is a giant hoard of candy that evokes old memories when the days were sweet and simple.
Here are the familiar names of DumDums, Tootsie Rolls, Mallo Cups, Lemonheads, Smarties, Charleston Chew, Chick-O-Stick, Fireballs, Dubble Bubble, Candy Buttons, Jelly Belly, Sugar Babies and Jaw Busters.
All these sweetness is located at Shindig, a new store that is modeled after an old-time candy shop. One wall is covered with shelving that holds transparent jars of candy that reaches from floor to ceiling. Kids can help themselves. Some of the top-shelf candy is accessible by step ladder.
The candy jars are color coded with dots that match white paper bags to dump the candy into. Green dots are 10-cent candies, yellow dots are a quarter, red dots are 50 cents and orange dots are $1. Pens and markers are provided to write the amount of candy that ends up in each bag.
“I wanted that dime store type of feeling of keeping things on the cheaper end. Where a kid can bring a dollar in and get 10 pieces of candy. Granted, they are going to learn about Uncle Sam and that it’s going to be $1.06,” said owner Carolyn Niemuth.
Running a candy store was something that she and her husband Bruce have always thought about. When they were walking downtown earlier this year, they noticed the building was for sale. A call to a realtor friend put things in motion.
“So many people have come in and brought their kid and said, ‘When I was a kid I used to walk three blocks after school and buy this for a dime,’” said Niemuth.
She also said grandparents have stopped in to pick up some candy that they haven’t seen in years, for themselves.
Niemuth said it is fun seeing children come into the store and watch their brains start calculating how much candy they can get for a buck and some change. “The kids come in with their little Velcro wallets. On the first day this little girl came in with a tiara and a purse with her own money in it,” she said.
Tubs with toys
Not all the tubs hold candy. They have warning labels that read: “Do not eat. This is a toy.”
The toys are a mix of plastic dinosaurs, mini puzzles, unicorns, toy cars, kazoos, spinning tops, whirly gigs and other gewgaws.
There is also another warning sign: “Pick candy, not your nose! Please use hand sanitizer before reaching into jars.”
Besides candy there are other snacks such as Andy Capp’s fries, Moon Pies, and freshly popped popcorn. A cotton candy machine sits in one corner and is ready for use.
Even the drinks have a nostalgic flavor: Dad’s root beer, Orange Crush soda, cherry cola, grape pop, ginger ale, fruit punch and lemonade.
During the winter months there is hot chocolate and this summer there are plans for snow cones and a lemonade stand.
There is an upstairs loft where children can hang out and play board games and it is also available for private birthday parties. Soon to be installed is a Beam interactive projector game system. Think of it as a floor mat-sized touch screen but for kids to step upon while playing a variety of games.
Gift certificates are available and the store is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday