Monday, October 17, 2011

Sweet, Sweet Hole in the Wall

Some people would admit to having a sweet tooth while others, like myself, admit to having thirty-two of them. For any of you who crave a Sour Patch Kid here and there or can't help yourself when standing in line at the grocery store next to the candy shelves, you know that candy stores aren’t too rare, but most are overpriced fudge shops and mall kiosks.

Remember going to penny candy shops as a kid? You’d get a couple bucks from your parents and you’d spend it wisely, being sure to squeeze every last grain of sugar out of each bill. These shops are now scarce, but there is at least one diamond in the rough left in the area, located in Freetown, MA; The Candy Jar.

The Candy Jar is owned by the ever-so-sweet couple, Raymond and Lynn Galuska. They cut the candy ribbon in 1989, when the couple decided to “take a chance” as Raymond recalls, in making their own business. “I was an accountant, but I was out of work due to sickness,” he recalls, “we decided to give it a shot.”

This sugary emporium is part of a plaza off Route 140 in Freetown, just under an hour from Boston. The selection of candies is...ridiculous. Just the gummies alone occupy over thirty plastic jars. Most gummies and loose candies are priced from 5-25 cents each. As a gummy connoisseur, I am fully satisfied with the amount of gummies, ranging from strawberries to happy cola to 6 different persuasions of worms. Aside from the jarred candies, packaged as well as “old school” candy is available. Satellite wafers, candy cigarettes, and even pumpkin seeds are available for less than fifty cents. There is also an abundant selection of chocolates, from truffles to bark. Behind the cash register, either Raymond or Lynn will assist you with your candy selection, counting up your total as you run your eyes over each jar. Small gifts, cards, and even mylar balloons are also available at the shop.

It seems as though candy shops are limited to malls and shopping plazas, asking fifteen to twenty dollars for a pound of candy. Sugar Heaven is a popular chain in Boston, but its prices are outrageous. When I asked Galuska about the disappearance of penny candy shops, he said “everyone wants to go to the big shops.” Remembering how things used to be when he was growing up, “30, 40, 50 years ago, every neighborhood had a corner or variety store. Every one of those shops carried penny candy.” He says that the reason why the shop does so well because it is somewhat of a rarity. 
Galuska notes that the best-selling candies in the store are the truffles. Sitting behind a glass case, these succulent treats were locally crafted, in Carlisle, Massachusetts by Dante Confections. “Next in line is the Swedish fish,” he pauses to laugh, “everybody loves Swedish fish.” When asked about his favorite candy, Galuska did not hesitate to agree with the majority. “Truffles”, he said, “the truffles are definitely my favorite.”

Halloween is coming up, and channeling your inner sugar freak a little bit early wouldn’t be so terrible. The Candy Jar is open for business every day except for Sunday, from about 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

You say you don’t like candy? I say you have no soul.

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