The sweet retro sweet craze
Over in Britain the craze for nostalgic candy has been booming in recent years, some shops seeing a 50% increase in business and a particular few brands seeing a 70% rise in sales.
The psych department has speculated this has as much to do with the economy as anything else, as people look for cheaper ways to highlight their day, and enjoy the pleasant childhood memories nostalgic candy can bring, forgetting for a moment the larger problems they may be having.
For shops like A Quarter Of Sweets, perhaps the original old fashioned candy store started by a pub conversation between brothers, it's a dream come true, as the owner describes spending his time doing something he loves, making his customers happy, and eating candy all day. Many of the resurrected brands were never gone at all, merely hidden in out of the way shops, only to be rediscovered by a few intrepid candy-loving businessmen.
Favorites include cola bottles, candy necklaces, Wham Bars, Foiled Ice Cups, Black Jacks, Fruit Salad, Rhubarb and Custard, Sweet Tobacco, and others, especially the reintroduced Wispa and Treets bars, the former brought on by a fan-driven internet campaign that demanded its return. The old brands seem to have a lot more charm than the new, feeling nothing like mass-produced corporate products, and more like something you could almost call your own.
Many businesses have sprung up catering to the new phenomenon, including small shops and larger brand name giants who now offer internet shipping around the world, conveniently delivered without the hassle of fruitless foot searches for a customer's favorite retro candy.
Despite the high-tech delivery, many corner shops bring back memories of candy shops from the 50s, with huge glass jars filled with nostalgic candy of all kinds, bright colors, clever decorations, and the owner, who has surely tried every kind many times.
Is this right for me?
It may only be a matter of time before retro candy shops open in the United States as well, as niche brands tend to cater to a loyal market, and offering a product that makes people happy has a way of invoking fond memories and repeat visits. These small shops used to be a staple, back when making retro sweets was a handmade operation. Watching a skilled candy artisan operate a taffy puller is strangely hypnotic, a disappearing art form that at least has a chance for revival if the retro craze of old fashioned candy continues catching on.
Given the number of hipsters who buy newly-made "vintage" clothing because it's trendy and cool, you can bet it's got a good shot at making it big. Plus it tastes pretty good.