The real fun starts with a perusal of the bags and bars on the nostalgia table that run from Abba-Zabba’s to Zotz. “This is where childhood memories are reawakened,” says Shahrazad Junblat, co-owner of the shop with her sister and brother-in-law. “I always hear customers exclaim, ‘Oh my God, I haven’t seen this since I was 5,’ or ‘ Grandma always used to buy me this.’” The vintage treats include: Look!, Big Hunk, Moon Pie, Sugar Babies, pastel button dots on strips of paper, Turkish taffy and Nik-L-Nip wax bottles filled with sweet syrup.
For the sweetest history lesson ever, check out the Candy by the Decade chart on Powell’s website.
Did you know that Bit-O-Honey, Butterfinger, Charleston Chew and Jujubees go way back to the early 1900s?
If you are a 50s Boomer, you’ll remember Fizzies, Pixy Stix, and Hot Tamales.
Flower Child of the 60s? Fruit Stripe gum, Twizzlers and Lemonheads should ring a bell.
Wore Jordache Jeans in the 70s? Pop Rocks and Ring Pops came out in your decade.
Played Pac Man in 80s? Maybe while chomping Runts and Nerds.
Junblat left the corporate world after 20+ years to cheerfully preside over “this happy place.” She personally favors the British imports, including Cadbury bars, Rountree’s Fruit Gums and Aero bubble chocolate, aptly housed in a red British phone booth. Additional foreign imports satisfy both world travelers and expats, such as Australian Kookabura licorice and Violet Crumble bars. Famous Dutch licorice is represented by licorice coins, hard licorice buttons, and salty salmiak rocks.
Gummis range from butterflies, penguins and mice to khaki green army guys and even sunnyside up eggs.
Asked for the latest trend in candy, Junblat quickly replies, “Bacon is the new black.” And points to a table with bacon flavored floss, toothpaste, chocolate, fizzy drinks and lollipops.
Some sweets perform a double duty, like candy beaded necklaces and Melody pops that play a tune.
All manner of jawbreakers sit in jars, from teensy marbles to huge orbs the size of a baby's head. Aaron Lindstrom, shift manager, admits to keeping a gigantic jawbreaker hidden in a paper bag under his bed when he was in the third grade. He secretly worked on it for months until it was gone.
Powell’s most helpful website also lists candies for those with dietary restrictions and preferences.
It’s nice to know that vegans can still enjoy Swedish Fish, Chick-O-Sticks, Hot Tamales and Boston Baked Beans.
There’s a large number of gluten-free goodies too.
I noticed that the list of candies without high fructose corn syrup includes Gummi Brains, Banana Heads and Smarties.
Does this somehow indicate that people who avoid the stuff are more intelligent?