Sweet memories: Nostalgia a big seller at the Candy Bar

Oh! I remember when ..." grown-ups exclaim when they come upon the candy bars, bits and big hunks they ate as a child at The Candy Bar, a sweets and novelties shop on Topsy Lane in south Carson City.

Pez, Charms and Abbazabbas.

Bit o'Honey, Root Beer Barrels and Beemans Blackjack gum.

SquirrelNutZippers, Pixie Stix and Pop Rocks.Mallow Cups, Zero Bars, Cup o' Gold, Skybars, Lookbars and IceCubes.

Even candy cigarettes, those politically incorrect items that kids from an earlier era adored for that very reason.

"I go all over the world to find them," says owner Suzi Hunt."It's like going on a scavenger hunt."

She attended the World Candy Expo in Chicago, the world's largest candy fair, to connect with manufacturers of nostalgic candy.

Hunt began the treasure hunt when she served on the board of the Carson City Childrens Museum.Wanting educational items for sale, she tracked down pop rocks and rock candy crystals.

Running a candy store has its challenges.

Keeping everything fresh in the desert climate is one."Chocolate can't be shipped in the summertime," she says,"It melts." Another task is selling enough of a lowpriced product to keep the business profitable.

Hunt's creative marketing idea during Street Vibrations and the Silver Dollar Car Classic: Rent a 1940s nightclub "cigarette girl" costume with sales tray and hire a high school cutie to wear it to peddle candy cigarettes to tourists.

Hunt hung up a 31-year career in real estate after the Sept.

11 tragedy because "I didn't want to go through life with a lot of problems.

I just wanted to make people happy." Hunt and her husband, Bob, opened the first store nearly four years ago in north Carson City, but sold it.

It has since closed.

They started the second store just over a year ago,with Hunt as the lone staff.

She has since added one full-time and two part-time employees.

A line of cartoon novelty candy bins and tins, T-shirts for out-of-the-closet choc-aholics and candy greeting cards provide further fun for confectionary connoisseurs.

Decades back, children stood before the local drug store candy counter, solemnly pondering how best to invest their pennies.

"They don't worry about the pennies any more," says Hunt."These days the kids walk in with $20 bills."


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