What could be better than being the proverbial kid in a candy store, surrounded by wonderful and tempting treats?
How about being a grown-up in a candy store? After all, you can buy whatever you want and there’s no one there to warn you you’ll spoil your dinner.
Kid or adult, Boyd’s Retro Candy Store, located at 354 Phillips Ave. in Toledo, offers a sweet assault on the senses with the brightly colored walls, the checkerboard floor and upon jar, on shelf after shelf of confections – by last count more than 1,000 and growing all the time.
As the name implies, the store specializes in sweet treats from the 50s, 60s and 70s but there’s definitely something to satisfy candy lovers of every generation.
Do Atomic Fire Balls, Boston Baked Beans, Candy Buttons, Sixlets, Sugar Babies and the bigger Sugar Daddies and Neccos bring back a flood of happy childhood memories? Do Pop Rocks, Nik-L-Nips, Razzles, Abba Zabas or Pixy Stix hold a special place in your heart?
Pam Lloyd-Camp understands completely.
“That’s why I wanted to open a retro candy store,” she said. “To help our generation relive their childhood memories and to give their kids happy memories too.”
She was inspired to open a shop selling nostalgic candy favorites after working in a candy store in Bowling Green. “People would come in asking for Mary Janes or Squirrel Nut Zippers – candies they used to enjoy as kids,” she said.
The first thing she looked for when starting an inventory was Fizzies, the drink tablets from the 1960s that turned a glass of water into soda pop.
“I had so much fun with them when I was a kid,” she said. (She carries them in such flavors as lemon lime, fruit punch, root beer, cherry, orange and blue razz.)
She opened the door to Toledo’s own Candyland in November 2006 in a little space at the corner of Arlington and Woodsdale, just off the Anthony Wayne Trail in south Toledo.
“It was already called Boyd’s, so I kept the name,” she said.
When the historic building at the intersection of Phillips and West Sylvania avenues became available, she decided to open a second shop there. Originally built in 1939, the building was the site of the Bib `n Tucker Restaurant. It had later incarnations as other restaurants, and was most recently a print shop, Pam said. After some cleanup and renovations, including painting the walls a bright, cheerful pink, the new store opened in June of last year.
“I love the location – it has a lot of history,” she said, adding that she and her husband are history buffs – so much so the store carries an assortment of local history books, including one penned by her husband.
“Because the store at 954 Phillips became the store most patronized, we closed our original location on Arlington back on Dec. 24 2007,” Pam said.
Though some happen upon the store by accident as they’re driving by, intrigued by the shop’s name and the building’s unique architecture, others plan the trip there on a quest to rediscover a favorite childhood treat.
On a recent weekday afternoon, customers strolled into the shop in a steady stream, including a few “first-timers.” In a matter of seconds, excited cries of “Oh my gosh!” or “I can’t believe you have these!” could be heard.
“I never get tired of that,” Pam said, adding that customers often share their childhood memories involving their favorite candies.
“One person told me about licking a giant jawbreaker until his tongue bled,” she said.
Occasionally, a customer will ask for something Pam doesn’t carry. “Often, I’m able to find what they want, but some things are just available any more.”
Also drawing oohs and ahs from customers is the assortment of retro soda pops in glass bottles, including a rainbow of flavors of Faygo, Crush, Nehi, Nesbitt’s and Boylan’s as well as old-timers Moxie, Dr. Enuf and Bubble Up.
“Some of them are unique,” Pam said. “Dr. Enuf was the original `energy drink.’ Moxie was created in 1876 and today is the state beverage of Maine.
“And personally, I think it’s just fun drinking something called Bubble Up,” she said.
For those who want to balance the sweet with the tart (yes, you could try the Lemonheads or some SweetTarts), Pam offers an assortment of Freestone Pickles that beckon from jars perched atop the ice cream counter.
“Surprisingly, they’re very popular with the kids,” she said.
And though the confections may bring back memories of a trip to the penny candy store, can you really get anything with a penny?
“We have jars of candy for two cents each, and kids who come in with a nickel or a quarter can definitely walk out with a treat or two.”
For a special someone, a special event or a notable occasion, Boyd’s can put together customized gift baskets. The store also accepts special orders and ships through its eBay store. “We’ve shipped orders throughout the U.S. and to Germany, Australia and England, among other places,” Pam said.
On Nov. 3, Boyd’s will celebrate its two-year anniversary since opening the first little candy store by offering 20 percent off.
Currently hours are Monday through Thursday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Friday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Closed Sunday. Most major credit cards are accepted.
For more information, call 419-720-7387 or visit www.junk-it-junction.com.