By Abigail Curtis
For The Midcoast Beacon
BELFAST — The Chocolate Drop Candy Shoppe is a place where the past is sweet — and very appreciated.
The shelves of the cozy Main Street store are packed with such old-fashioned treats as Mary Janes, Squirrel Nut Zippers, Maine-made salt water taffy, cow tails, candy buttons, candy lipsticks and Boston baked beans. The chewing gum comes in a variety of flavors, including those more popular 100 years ago, like Black Jack, clove, Teaberry and Beeman’s.
And for proprietor Susanne Wilson, the nostalgic flavor of her candy shop suits her just fine. The best part of owning the store is getting to interact with the people who drop in, she said.
“The older people come in and say, I haven’t seen that in ages,” she said recently. “A candy store is a happy place. People are happy.”
Wilson and her daughter, store manager Pam Colson, will celebrate the Chocolate Drop Candy Shoppe’s 15th anniversary all summer long.
Patrons to the store will get 15 percent off any purchase worth $15 or more on the 15th of each month until December, Colson said.
The business has been family-owned since it was started by Wilson’s son, Paul Foster, in December 1995. Wilson began coming north from Virginia to spend more time in Maine and bought the business from her son in 1999.
She said that she has made efforts to source candy locally, and purchases most of her chocolates from Haven’s Candies in Westbrook, which has been handcrafting its confections since 1915. The back counter of the store is a testament to the truffle, which comes in flavors including champagne, creme brulee, cappucino, chocolate velvet and Kahlua White Russian.
There’s fudge, buttercrunch and turtles, chocolate covered graham crackers, chocolate covered Oreos and a selection of sugar-free chocolates, which are hard to distinguish from the real thing, Colson said.
The two women reminisced about some of their favorite customers. There are the summer camp youngsters who come out in force, the cruise ship passengers who like to stop in, and kids from Belfast who have grown up with the Chocolate Drop Candy Shoppe.
Even when they graduate and go to college, they don’t forget the store, Wilson said.
“Some of the kids come back and say this is their first stop in town,” she said.
On Saturday mornings, they’ll be visited by many parents and grandparents bringing kids to the store.
“Kids save their pennies to come in,” Wilson said.
“It’s really cute to watch,” her daughter added.
Tourists make repeat visits year after year. This year, the sign came down in the heavy winds of a March storm, and one summer visitor was greatly relieved to find that the store was open despite its lack of signage.
Now, a brightly-painted sign — featuring a chocolate drop, of course — will advertise that the candy shop will dispense truffles, Jelly Belly jelly beans and all the other treats just as usual.
The Chocolate Drop Candy Shoppe is located at 60 Main St., Belfast. It is open 10:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Saturday and noon-4 p.m. Sunday. For information, call 338-0566.