Walking into Linda Eaton’s Montrose Candy Company store is a lesson in candy history, as everything from salt water taffies and green apple jelly bellies, to hot dog bubble gum, candy dots and Pop Rocks are organized neatly on her store’s shelves.
“Look at these!” said Jean Parker of Tujunga, pointing to some salt water taffies. “This would be a nice gift for the guys at work. How cute is that?”
The candy store along Montrose’s historic shopping park at 2317A Honolulu Ave. is nostalgic, yet “kind of hip, bringing in a lot of candies that you can’t find elsewhere,” Eaton said. “We’ve always thought that Montrose needed a candy store.”
The store’s cornerstone feature is the Balboa Bar — vanilla ice cream dipped in chocolate coated with whatever toppings the customer prefers, including sprinkles, cookie and toffee bits and nuts. For Christmas, candy-cane bits were offered. Balboa Bars are native to the Balboa Island area of Newport Beach.
The store also offers party favors for birthdays, weddings and other events.
“It’s just a way to bring some favorites that people have up here to the foothills,” said Eaton, adding that the cold weather does not deter people from buying cold or frozen snacks, with stores such as the recently opened Paradis Ice Cream open for business just a few doors down. “It’s something you can’t find anywhere near here. You have to go down to the beach. So it’s a way to give people Balboa Bars year round.”
Eaton’s goal in opening her candy store was to provide the community with something happy and fun, she said, pointing out that a candy store has not existed in Montrose for at least 40 years.
“It’s very vintagy, it’s very old-schoolish,” said Linda Pita of La Cañada Flintridge as she was looking at Soda Can Fizzy Candy.
The store, Eaton said, offers people a chance to travel back in time, allowing her customers to remember the candies they ate as a kid.
“Everybody’s got a story to tell,” Eaton said as customers streamed into the store, out of the rain. “It’s really nice to hear that.”
Customers can buy a little, a few pieces, or a lot, by weight, Eaton said.
The store will also be bringing back penny candies — candy that costs one penny, a throwback to prices of decades past. Each Saturday, the store will offer two types of candy marked “Penny Candy,” Eaton said.
“How many people walk down the street and see a penny?” Eaton said. “Kids will pick it up, but adults will walk right past it. It’s, like, meaningless. It also brings back memories for older people like me.”