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April 4, 2012

Powell’s Sweet Shoppe

by Anne Paddock

There are three big holidays a year where candy is emphasized: Valentine’s Day, Easter, and Halloween.  With the Easter season upon us, there is no better time to talk about candy:  jelly beans, chocolate bunnies, malted eggs, marshmallow chicks, lollipops, peanut butter eggs, and more.

While on a recent trip to Paso Robles, California, I stumbled upon a store – Powell’s Sweet Shoppe – that took me back to my childhood, when every other thought was candy, where to get it, and how to get more. When Jerry Seinfeld came out with the book “Halloween” in 2002 and said “It’s all about the candy,” I totally got it – even though I was 40 years old at the time. It’s always about the candy and Powell’s Sweet Shoppe’s philosophy is to spread forth the word of Willy Wonka and the joy of candy.

483188_421212711255574_1636285663_nPowell’s Sweet Shoppe was started by a Willy Wonka of sorts:  Michael Powell.  In 2003, Powell had the “sugar induced hallucinogenic” idea to open a candy store in Windsor, California whose success led to the opening of more stores. The Paso Robles store is locally owned by Spencer, Josh, and Sonora Goodwin, who also own another Powell’s Sweet Shoppe about 30 minutes north in San Luis Obispo, California.

The Paso Robles store (pictured) is not the typical plastic bin depot found in malls, but an homage to Willy Wonka and the candy of the 20th century. Every square inch of Powell’s is filled with candy and nostalgia from every decade going back to 1900. Visitors may wander in out of curiosity but linger because a visit to Powell’s Sweet Shoppe is a walk down Memory Lane. Fruit Stripe Gum, Chuckles, 100 Grand bars, Peanut Chews, and Necco Wafers are just a few of the thousands of candies in Powell’s.

In the Paso Robles store, there is a memorial of sorts to the original “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” movie and for everyone that remembers that great book published in 1964 and the original movie released in 1971, the pull is undeniable. A big screen television plays the movie constantly and there are old-fashioned movie seats for people like me who want to sit down and catch a glimpse of the Oompa-Loompas, Violet Beauregard, or Charlie Bucket himself. Although Johnny Depp was amazing in the recent remake of the movie, the original film starring Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka brings back the nostalgia baby boomers felt decades ago when the movie was first released.

61130_141233625920152_7729771_nEveryone has their favorite candy and although mine are too numerous to list, Cinnamon Bears, Sugar Daddy’s, Milk Duds, Snickers (frozen or very chilled), and Baby Ruth bars are among my favorites. Powell’s carries candy from every decade of the 20th century along with that long forgotten accessory:  the tin lunchbox. Who could forget the thrill of picking out a new lunchbox every September?

306145_517939161582928_1088683959_nPowell’s also carries ice cream, gelato and a wide selection of soda pop, cards, chocolates, toys, games, and special seasonal holiday selections. Every type of Easter candy imaginable is available to fill a child’s Easter basket.

46069_137654549611393_2515003_nPaso Robles, California is known for their wines with more than 170 vineyards in the area but a trip to Paso Robles would not be complete without visiting Powell’s Sweet Shoppe. The sweet aromas of your favorite candies are evident as you walk though the old-fashioned doors.

There are 15 Powell’s Sweet Shoppes in California, one in Idaho, and one in Oregon. For a complete list of store locations and hours, go to the company website. If your travels take you to California, Idaho or Oregon, take a detour and some time to stroll down Memory Lane at Powell’s Sweet Shoppe.

Powell’s Sweet Shoppe
840 11th Street
Paso Robles, California 93446

Powell’s Sweet Shoppe
1020 Court Street
San Luis Obispo, California 93401

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