Willow Glen Sweet Shoppe owner dishes on Big Hunks, Necco Wafers — and the retro candy everyone wants again

Willow Glen Sweet Shoppe owner dishes on Big Hunks, Necco Wafers — and the retro candy everyone wants again
Matthew Rodriguez, owner of the Willow Glen Sweet Shoppe in San Jose, reveals off a handful of retro candies. (Karl Mondon/Bay Spot News Team) 

In his small tenure as proprietor of a San Jose candy business enterprise, Matthew Rodriguez has had to relocate his Willow Glen Sweet Shoppe, retrofit a vintage creating and weather conditions each the COVID-19 economic downturn and weeks of missing enterprise when the wildfires kept clients at residence. But he had a sweet, nostalgic inventory to aid him as a result of. He’s extra a new ice cream counter and just opened his next site — out of requirement, he states. We talked with him about the attractiveness of retro candies and making it through complicated periods in the meals industry.

Q: How did you get intrigued in the retro candy organization?

A: I was hunting to invest in a coffee store actually, and the Willow Glen Sweet Shoppe just popped up in my feed. Residing in Willow Glen, we identified it promptly. And it turned out the owner and I had a large amount in widespread. I grew up about a quarter of a mile from him. He realized my wife’s family members. It seemed it was intended to be.

Q: Why do these treats enchantment to today’s purchaser?

A: It is all about recollections. All working day extensive, people appear in and the candies choose them back. They start off conversing about their family members, best friends, the place they had been, who they had been relationship. Grandparents are talked about a lot. I am very absolutely sure grandparents are the quantity one sugar-pushers.

Q: What was your favored candy as a kid? Is it a single you stock today?

A: Sugar Toddlers and Wintergreen Tic Tacs, and we have them each.

Q: What are your best sellers?

A: Annabelle’s bars, centered out of Hayward, are No. 1 — Rocky Road, Abba-Zaba, Significant Hunk. These are tops. Other best sellers are Charleston Chews and 100 Grand Bars.

Q: What other candies from yesteryear do you have?

A: Necco Wafers. Soon after not currently being designed for a few of yrs, they are back! Persons really like them. We have a lot of black licorice and Licorice Allsorts.

Some things are very niche, like Boston Baked Beans. Very same with Mallo Cups. But persons stroll in and count on you to have them.

Q: What sweet do buyers request that you regrettably have to notify them is no longer available?

A: Pink popcorn may possibly be the most asked about. Was it a brick or a ball? I can not keep in mind. And absolutely everyone has a diverse name for it. Somebody ought to convey that back again.

Matthew Rodriguez adjusts a shelf of avocado pillows at his San Jose store. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Team) 

Q: How does it really feel to be offering classic candies in a classic household? What yr was this structure built? 

A: Had I recognized the difficulties of acquiring the home up to code, I would not have performed it. And obtaining any type of development accomplished throughout COVID was very tricky. The house was developed in 1938. With that said, the place and retro feel are best for us.

Q: You at first started out marketing Gelato Classico, centered in Concord, and now you also scoop Marianne’s Ice Product of Santa Cruz. Has this diversification helped organization?

A: We are now a a person-prevent store for brilliant frozen treats. Actually, if it had been not for the guidance of Marianne’s and Gelato Classico, we would have been out of organization months ago. We couldn’t scoop from May possibly to October for the reason that we have been doing the job with the overall health section on new plumbing, new tile and more. And when I’m not scooping ice cream, they are losing dollars, too.

Q: Are some retro candies seasonal?

A: For Christmas and Easter, we sell the Schurra’s chocolate Santas and Easter bunnies, produced in classic molds. People are enormous. Peppermint Bark. Brach’s can make a Xmas nugget people today like. Easter Peeps are also big.

Q: You just produced it by means of the demanding pandemic economic system. Why expand now?

A: I could possibly slice in half my employees’ shifts or come across a further way to make cash. And these youthful grownups have all been with us for a long time. We are really fortunate to have these types of excellent people today who want to function at the store.

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