NEW HYDE PARK, NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – At a Nassau County auto repair shop, a tune-up for your car comes with a side of old-fashioned candy.
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When Bobb Howard’s General Store & Auto Repair opened in 1946, it was the only business in the area. Over time, homes and shops cropped up in its New Hyde Park neighborhood, and Bobb Howard’s endured. The founders’ daughter Eileen Caplin Wysel now runs the shop alongside her husband Ronnie.
The hissing and clanging of car repair can be heard from the general store, which specializes in vintage sweets like Clark Bars, Necco Wafers, and rock candy.
Both sides of the business cater to multiple generations of local families.
“Where we were putting air in kids’ bicycles, now we’re putting air in their automobile tires,” Eileen said. “Kids, years ago, would come here after school to get their candy. Now, they’re bringing their children in to get candy.”
Some step into the shop for a treat when dropping off their car. “But we have people that come every single day for their candy fix,” Eileen said.
For her, the business is about family. Her parents were fixtures of the place, even in their final years.
“My dad, he was here every day, even attached to an oxygen tank,” she said. “And my mom, she would mostly help out by eating all the dark chocolate here.”READ MORE: Family-Run Tofu Shop Fong On, Founded In 1933, Is Embracing Its Past And Future
Her husband and co-owner is part of the legacy.
“I had two older brothers, and my parents always said they had four children because they never considered Ronnie a son-in-law. They always considered him a son,” Eileen said.
A gum ball machine that’s close to 70 years old welcomes customers at the store entrance. They can fill baskets with favorites like Pixy Stix and red licorice laces and peruse shelves of old-fashioned toys and paddle games.
For many customers, the items bring back memories.
“They always come in with a story from their childhood,” Eileen said. “That’s my favorite part.”
Bobb Howard’s General Store & Auto Repair
581 Lakeville Rd
New Hyde Park, NY 11040
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