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Candy Culture

One’s favorite candy often conjures up a small screen slideshow in the mind. Add the words and music from a favorite song or commercial jingle and away you go. A visit to your favorite Woodstock, Vermont general store, F.H. Gillingham & Sons will transport you to the good old days. Let’s unwrap some pop culture and reminisce together!

Remember going to Fenway with your Grandfather and buying some peanuts, and Cracker Jack? How you treasured that miniature toy surprise. You kept your collection hidden in a shoebox far into the left corner of your closet. You knew it was dark in there, so no one would find it. How about Bazooka bubble gum? Your favorite ball players chewed it as they hit a home run.

Can you hear “Choo Choo Charlie” - that little tune resonated every time you opened a box of Good & Plenty, pretending to chug along like a train? We frequently ponder about a Tootsie Roll, named after creator Leo Hirshfield’s daughter, whose nickname was “Tootsie” – we could never eat just one, and keeping a small stash in our pockets made them so soft and chewy. Junior Mints, introduced in 1949 in Cambridge, Massachusetts made us all smile. Did you know that each mint’s cream filling had a dimple on one side inside the dark chocolate coating?

Do you remember riding your bicycle to the drugstore (Woodstock “kids” recall Sterling’s Pharmacy) and using money earned mowing a neighbor’s lawn or delivering newspapers before school? Wow, you had enough to buy Black Jack Taffy and Atomic Fireballs. Spicy and hot as they were, you felt like your father (who also kept a supply with his loose change). If gumdrops were in your repertoire, Dots, or “Mason Dots” lured you with their bright yellow packaging. Today we know they are gluten-free, nut-free, peanut-free, and kosher, all while being the best-selling gumdrop of all time.

Your world stopped in the 1960s when Fruit Stripe Gum appeared! You could eat the entire pack, in between a Pop Tart, Bugles, and Franco-American Spaghetti -right before dinner no less. Those were the days. The 70s rolled around, and sweetness was everywhere. Charms Blow Pops (who would have thought to put bubblegum in a lollipop, genius!) Your Candy Necklace looked groovy with your bell-bottoms and fringed vest - although it did not coordinate with your mood ring. Marcia Brady was your fashion idol; David Cassidy hung on your wall; and you “played that funky music” until you heard Mom screeching.

What’s not to love about the 80s? KC and the Sunshine Band, Queen, and Pink Floyd dominated the Billboard Charts. Who did you call an Airhead? Watermelon and Pink Lemonade were always found in our lockers. Gummi Bears, shut the front door, entranced you with their mesmerizing texture, vibrant and transparent jewel tones – you ate them until the cows came home (and by the looks at our invoices today, you still eat them, a lot of them). We shall not forget Cowtails. Launched in ’84, we carry them today, mainly because of the cow thing, but also for their rich creamy center.

Kids of the 90’s recall Nerds, Ring Pops, Push Pops, and Bubble Yum. Be still our hearts…New Kids on the Block and Destiny’s Child pumped us up before a Woodstock Union High School basketball game; Oscar Meyer Lunchables were found in our backpacks, ahem a few days late; and The Rugrats made being bratty kind of cool.

In 2016, life is dominated by “health-conscious” chocoholics - with cacao in every form and flavor – handmade, artisan, organic, liquor-infused, sea salted, chili peppered, and studded with bacon. Yes, we carry these sometimes, trendy eccentric combinations. Most of us though, still gravitate towards the tried-but-true: Snickers, Milky Way, Butterfinger, M&Ms, and Oh, Henry. We wake up to Flo Rida, cry with Adele, hang out with Taylor Swift, and fall asleep to Ed Sheeran. Life may be a bit more hectic, but confections save our sanity. We see you dash into our store, bee lining for you-know-what, guiltily checkout, as you explain that you just need that fix.

Our fascination with candy (in moderation they tell us) will always be part of our store’s culture. Our endless aisle of candy jars will tempt you into submission and bring a smile to your face. F.H. Gillingham & Sons customers, of all ages, gravitate towards their favorite sweet. Start with a sampling of each – and come back to restock. Remember to hide your little bag. You never know who may be lurking about.

P.S. Comment and let us know what your favorite candy is...from your childhood or today! We'll do our best to carry it in our store.



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