HOULTON, Maine — The owners of a popular candy store in downtown Market Square said Wednesday that while they have loved operating in the community over the past eight years, they have made the decision to close the store.
Karen Keber Sutton opened Uncle Willy’s Candy Shoppe in Houlton in November 2008 and has since opened another store in Camden with her husband, Matthew Sutton.
Sutton said Wednesday that because of unexpected and ongoing medical issues, they will be closing the doors at the Houlton location on Saturday. The Camden store will stay open.
“It was a very difficult decision for us to make, because we love Houlton so much and that community has been so supportive of us,” he said. “That is where my wife started out, and she loved running the store. But we both need to streamline and reduce stress, so this is a step we have to take.”
Upon its opening, the store quickly became very popular with both children and adults, offering a huge variety of famous, lesser-known and old-fashioned candy, along with goods that Keber Sutton makes herself. The shelves in the store hold rows of glass jars of candy, from orange sour balls to red-and-white peppermint sticks and brown caramel chews to chocolate-covered potato chips. Every holiday, Keber Sutton thrilled her customers by stocking the shelves with her decadent homemade Easter eggs, chocolate Santas and snowmen, and peanut brittle.
Sutton noted that his wife first came to Houlton as a single mother. The store is named after her late husband, Willy.
“Houlton could not have been a better place for her to raise her children,” he said. “She needed a place to feel safe, and Houlton provided that. We will always be grateful for that.”
Sutton said that several people, upon hearing the news that the store was closing, approached the couple about buying the business.
“We are open to that,” he said. “We would not sell the Uncle Willy’s Candy Shoppe brand or inventory, but someone could purchase the equipment and building and start their own candy store or a small cafe.”
In the future, Sutton said that the couple plans to renew their online presence in order to give customers more options for making virtual candy purchases. Sutton said that the Camden store, located at 57 Bay View St. and operating since July 2015, has been “doing very well.”
He said that anyone with gift certificates can use them at the Houlton store through Saturday. Anyone who has them after the local store closes can contact the Suttons for more information. After Saturday, they can be reached via their Camden store’s Facebook page or by calling that store at 230-2470.
“A number of people from Houlton have stopped in to visit us in Camden, and we hope they will continue to do so,” Sutton said.