Titus Stoffel’s excitement could hardly be contained as the 3-year-old’s wide eyes reflected the more than 500 bins of colorful candy at his disposal Monday.
There’s no hiding the bright, rainbow-colored front window of downtown Huntington’s newest small business, Little Sweets Spot, which opened Nov. 30 at 315 N. Jefferson St. on the mall.
The sugar-filled storefront made it difficult for Stoffel, and his parents, to reach a decision as they began to make their way to the checkout counter.
Several hundred flavors of lollipops, nearly 35 flavors of cotton candy and more than 60 flavors of jelly beans have been causing similar issues for other Huntington families, and owner Tim Savage said he’s been happy to help everyone navigate the new store.
“It’s been interesting. We’ve had a couple kids say to their grandparents or parents that, ‘I don’t feel like I’m in Huntington anymore. I feel like I’m in a bigger city,’ and that’s really what we’ve tried to bring,” Savage said. “We wanted to bring the level of what you’d find in a bigger city to our little town.”
When Savage and his wife Misty moved to Huntington three years ago, they began searching for a way to get involved locally and help revitalize downtown.
“We really felt that downtown is the key to a community’s growth – the core and key to growth – so we started looking for ideas for businesses that would not only serve the people of Huntington but also people from the outside, making it a destination business,” Savage said.
On opening night, the store was wall-to-wall packed with people, and Savage said things haven’t slowed down much.
“The business has been overwhelming,” Savage said. “We never would have expected the amount of interest in the shop that there’s been. It’s been great to watch the kids’ eyes light up. A lot of them have never experienced seeing all these different types of candy, so that’s been fun too.”
There’s even a “nostalgic” section which features old-fashioned candy like rootbeer barrels and other favorites from soda shops and candy stores older generations remember.
“We’ve got a lot of candy that you’ve probably had as a kid, the kinds with anise or the ones that your grandparents gave you,” Savage said.
Since becoming involved with the Huntington Downtown Business Association, Savage said he’s seen a growing enthusiasm for where the city is headed. Savage said he’s excited for the UB Block to open and add to what downtown business owners are pushing toward.
“We just want people to come back downtown. The core of the city is going to drive how the city feels about itself,” he said. “I think if we can revitalize downtown, it’s going to drive more businesses to Huntington, more people to Huntington,” he said. “It’s just going to be good for everyone.”