NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – An East Village institution – and a favorite of children of all ages – has made a bitter sweet announcement.
Raul Candy Store will close after 45 years in business.
As the owners prepare to say goodbye, some famous faces are stopping by in a bid to keep the Manhattan shop open.
Raul Santiago and his wife Petra Oliviery are boxing up decades of memories inside their iconic East Village store.
A “going out of business sign” now hangs outside of store on Avenue B. Still inside for now, pieces of the past in the form of delectable delights.
“Jelly candy looks like an egg. I like the chico sticks,” one customer told CBS2’s Reena Roy.
Loyal customers have been stopping by to stock up on some old school sweets and to bid the couple farewell.
Actress Rosario Dawson, who grew up coming to Raul Candy Store, was one of the many who came to wish the owners well. The actress also reportedly started collecting donations to save the store.
Customer Frankie Singh almost moved to tears as he brought his daughter for the last time.
“I’ve been coming here since I was in kindergarten,” Singh said.
“I’ve been bringing my daughter since the same age kindergarten and now it’s gone. It’s a piece of my heart gone.”
“There’s no other store where like people just come and hang out and get candy,” Brianna Singh added.
The husband and wife duo opened up shop 45 years ago and prices have stayed almost exactly the same. The candy in their bins are all under a dollar, some of it sells for just two cents.
Back then, their rent was just $100 a month. Today, it’s $2,400.
“My parents used to come here and get candy for me. You can still get five-cent candy, penny candy. I never stopped coming,” Andre Delgado explained.
Unlike some other stores in the area unable to keep up with rent, Santiago says he’s just ready to retire. Telling CBS2 in Spanish this store has meant everything to him after he moved here from Puerto Rico.
The store’s last day is scheduled to be Feb. 28. The owners say on that day, all candy will be free.