Economy Candy Goes Retro with 80th Anniversary Throwback Signage

Posted on: June 29th, 2017 at 5:00 am by

Photo: Economy Candy

Economy Candy just marked the occasion of its eightieth birthday with brand new marquee signage. Installation completed Tuesday afternoon, and is the first major storefront modification in several years for the octogenarian sweets shop.

“As a birthday present to ourselves we have given our store front a facelift to restore some old school charm,” ownership proclaimed in an email.

This modern take on the days of yore – or, “retro-renovation” – was inspired by the script lettering that greeted customers during the 1960s. Below is a photo of Economy Candy from that era.

Economy Candy entered life on the Lower East Side in 1937 around the corner on Essex Street. Its original function was a discount shoe shop, the candy stand was the biggest draw. Fashion purchases weren’t number one for those hit hardest by the economic downturn. So, founder Morris “Moishe” Cohen, who passed away two years ago at age 92, pivoted the business into a sweets shop. Its predecessor was Saperstein’s, a sweets and appetizing store that opened here in 1903. The Times noted that 108 Rivington Street was perennially “stocked to the ceiling with dried fruits, exotic foods, fresh halvah, and smoked fish.” That business also lasted eighty years until second-generation owner Solomon Saperstein decided to retire at age 80 in June 1983. There was apparently no one in the family willing to take over the business, so Economy moved here.

In the 1960s, Photo: Economy Candy

In honor of the 80th, we asked Economy Candy about their bestsellers, both current and back in the day:

  1. Chocolate Covered Everything! Pretzels, Graham Crackers, Jelly Grahams, Oreos and S’mores. These fly off the shelves!
  2. Sour Candy, specifically Toxic Waste and Warheads.
  3. Vintage Trading Cards. The most popular are Garbage Pail Kids, Wacky Packs, 1987-89 Topps Baseball Cards, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Cards, Back to the Future II Cards, Ghostbusters II Cards and Nicktoons Cards.
  4. Anything and Everything by Color! We have M&Ms, Jelly Belly Jelly Beans, Sixlets, Gumballs, Gummy Bears and more in every color of the rainbow. Plus we have specialty “It’s a Boy,” “It’s a Girl,” and “I Do” themed candies.
  5. Penny Candy! We have an entire window filled with old school Penny Candy for $2.99 a pound that includes everything from Mary Janes and Smarties to Bit-o-Honey and Tootsie Rolls.

Back in 1937 there was a lot less variety, but the Penny Candy that is still popular today was also a big hit back then. The top three (in no particular order) were:

  1. Mary Janes
  2. Tootsie Rolls
  3. Hershey Bars

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