Mrs. Robinson’s Sweets and Treats offers candy and more on State Street07/05/2022 11:22AM ● By Steven Hoffman
Shoppers on Kennett Square’s State Street can now get a side of candy with their tea since the opening of Mrs. Robinson’s Sweets and Treats.
On Memorial Day, the shop, an offspring of Marlene Robinson’s tea shop, opened its doors at 131 East State Street.
The candy shop, which customers can enter from the street or through an adjoining door inside at the tea shop, is a romantic destination that conjures up memories of childhood and its opportunities to buy a little confection or two with pocket change.
With vintage Frank Sinatra music playing in the background and colorful shelves filled with old time candies sharing their colors, the shop invites its customers to scoop out handfuls in bulk or pick out their choice of chocolates or peppermint sticks. There’s even a machine that dishes out Dole Whip, a soft serve dairy-free frozen dessert created by Dole Food Company. Its original pineapple flavor is best known, and additional fruit flavors are sold.
Mrs. Robinson’s Tea Shop stood for more than a decade on North Union Street, and then moved to the former Torelli’s Custom Shop at 129 State St. two years ago, seeking more room for its growing inventory. It has always offered accessories and gifts for the teatime experience, and is far from being just a specialty shop for tea.
Customers for years have patronized the tea shop because they know they can find unusual flavors and get their questions answered about the selections.
With it all, Robinson has always had in her mind that she would someday like to have a candy shop as well, according to the new Sweets and Treats proprietor Doug Rae. He recently retired from a business career.
Robinson said she always had in her mind that the gracious feeling of sitting together and having a cup of tea conjures up the same feelings of sharing some candy.
When the old little five-and-ten store next to the tea shop became available, she and Rae jumped at the opportunity to contract for it.
“We got the place without really knowing what we would do,” Rae said.
As they set about to work to do renovations on the building, they decided to join the two shops by cutting an interior door between them. They had to put in a little extra effort for that project because there were different landlords for the two buildings, and they had to get an easement for the project.
That went well, however, and now customers can travel casually between the tea shop and the candy shop from the inside.
And they do.
The interior is inviting.
There are four loose candy bins in the center of the room: chocolate, sour, non-sour and odds-and-ends. The customer can reach in and scoop out handfuls.
Around the sides of the room are diverse shelving and old-fashioned cabinets that display the goods. There’s even a line of little chocolate creatures in wrappings that look like formal attire —perhaps appropriate for the tables at a wedding reception.
The front window that looks out on State Street displays an artistic arrangement inviting the shoppers and their children in.
The goods are old-fashioned. Rae said they don’t sell the bulk candies available at modern food and big box stores. Rather, their items are unique and usually harken back to flavors from the past.
Often customers can be heard talking and asking about candies they bought when they were young and had some change given to them by their parents. Rae accommodates them.
When shoppers request a product they can’t find in the shop, he said he tries to track it down. Currently, he said, he has seen a demand for sugar-free candy.
Rae and Robinson have been gratified by the public response to the new store.
“When parents come, they bring their children,” he said.
One customer came for the first time and was heard to say, “There’s so many. How can I decide?”
Another employee from a nearby store said, “I just had this desire to run over and get that pineapple soft serve.”
When asked what the future is for this popular candy shop, Rae said, “We haven’t stopped expanding.”