Monday, August 12, 2013

Coney Candy Comparison

Today, when you arrive at Coney Island and emerge from the train station, instead of the grand old Henderson Building, the first thing you see is the global chain candy store IT'SUGAR, topped with a billboard from which mega-developer Thor Equities (misspelled "Equites") welcomes you, as if Coney Island belonged to them. Which, actually, it does.

Already you want to die.
 


When IT'SUGAR (that's how they choose to misspell it) opened this spring, The Brooklyn Paper reported that their CEO declared that customers would choose his shop over nearby old-timer Williams Candy because of IT'SUGAR's "sleek, trendy vibe and jumbo, novelty-size boxes" of big-brand candies like Nerds and Snickers.

So how do the two compare?

Local, family-run Williams Candy has been here for some 75 years. When you walk into their comfortable old shop, you are welcomed by the most wonderful aroma, a powerful mix of chocolate, roasted nuts, popcorn, and candy apples--which they make onsite by hand. The place is warm and inviting.

IT'SUGAR was founded in Florida in 2006, now with 68 locations. When you walk in to their Coney store, you don't smell anything. Maybe because it's mostly sealed inside plastic. Or maybe because your other senses are being brutally assaulted by pounding pop music and a confusing array of colors, brands, and images, including several posters of sexy girls sucking lollipops and wearing Catholic-school miniskirts.
 


With competitive swagger, IT'SUGAR's CEO told Brooklyn Paper, “Our candy stores are not your typical ‘old fashioned and stale’ stores but more of a hip and cool place where customers can find so many exclusive, unique and fun products."

What are these more unusual products you won't find at Williams Candy? Well, there's the gummy Party Python, a giant snake shown cradled and suckled by three hot girls in hooker heels.



If that's too big to swallow, try the smaller, but no less potent, World's Largest Gummy Worm, an item that bears an uncanny resemblance to something you might find in a sex shop under the category "Double Input."



IT'SUGAR also has their own line of novelty mints, each in a creative tin. On the one for their "You Know You Want It" mints--not to be confused with their BITCH mints and FML (Fuck My Life) mints--they provide a listing of IT'SUGAR's "sweet philosophy" of life. The tin reads, "We believe in: conspicuous consumption, addiction to sugar, overindulgence, asking for forgiveness instead of permission, bending rules, being a little brighter than the rest," and more along those lines.

But IT'SUGAR is not just about candy. You can also find notepads for making HEY ASSHOLE notes, WTF notes, SHIT lists, and BITCH CITATIONS. You can buy clothing, too, like the girl's "flirty" tank top that says "Wanna Lick." 

I found it all rather overwhelming, and had to run away fast, fleeing to the warm, quiet bosom of Williams Candy, where a person can think and breathe.



None of the treats at Williams Candy tell you to be a greedy, slutty, sociopathic consumer. There are no pictures of teenage girls fellating the candies. There's no loud, repetitive pop music to jackhammer your brain.

At Williams, the treats are peaceful and modest. The candy apples, freshly dipped and be-sprinkled, sit patiently on their trays and wait to be chosen. They don't scream at you. They don't try to be "unique." And they certainly don't suggest that you insert them into anyone's vagina. They just exist--and they exist beautifully, with an old-fashioned sense of style.

There's nothing "stale" about that.


See more on Williams Candy

Now watch this little movie about Williams Candy--and, this week only, go see Zipper at IFC, a fantastic film that tells the inside story of how Coney Island is being turned into a mean and soulless suburban mall.


Peter Agrapides, Owner of Coney Island's Williams Candy (v1) from The Brooklyn Ink on Vimeo.

27 comments:

Romy Ashby said...

I find it especially depressing that Thor Equities spells its own name wrong on the billboard: "Thor Equites."

Jeremiah Moss said...

ha! I didn't notice that. brilliant.

Jeremiah Moss said...

I added a note about it, thank you!

esquared™ said...

It's not a misspelling; that's either a Freudian slip or deliberate, i.e. equites -- members of a specially privileged class. That's their target market; how Thor think of themselves; and what they're turning Coney Island into.

Anonymous said...

IT'SUGAR also has a store on Broadway at Great Jones. I didn't know their disgusting backstory and went in last week to buy some candy for the movies. It's like a teenage fantasy whorehouse in there. Hideous blaring pop music, obnoxious people (both staff and shoppers) and the prices are insane!!! One box of Milk Duds and and 1/4 of gummi bears were $12.00! I left it on the counter and went to the movies candyless. What a horrible experience.

Anonymous said...

the "old" candy store reminds me of childhood visits to the beach at wildwood/cape may, when we bought saltwater taffy that was made on site. it was a once in a blue moon treat, as were most sweets!

but today, it's not just bending rules, but bending over, in every sense of the phrase as in bend over, slutty consumeristas!

Anonymous said...

F*** this store and everything about it. It's worse than Ralph Lauren's daughter getting bored one day and saying, "Daddy, give me some money so I can open a candy store."

I'm going to the Cyclones game on Wednesday, so I'll be sure to drop some cash at Williams beforehand.

Zipperfilm said...

Wonderful piece! So spot-on. And, as always, damn funny in all the right times!

Please note that Zipper is running THROUGH this Thursday, in spite of the fact that the IFC website only shows through Tuesday.

Anonymous said...

No trip to Coney has been complete for the past 20 years without leaving with a bag full of William's caramel/nut-covered marshmallows on a stick. Usually they don't survive the train trip back to Manhattan...

I had no idea how horrifying It'Sugar was inside, as I've never gone in one. Now I never need to, so thanks for the pics!

Anonymous said...

I'm 26 and have been in NY for close to two years so I'm definitely not an expert on hypergentrification. However, I've been to Coney Island several times and the corporate stores seem completely out of place (both in appearance and in-store vibe). Is this how it was in Manhattan when chains began their takeover?

Jeremiah Moss said...

esquared, amazing association! "members of a social order distinguished by wealth and ranking just below the senators." thank you for pointing that out.

Goggla said...

Gummy. Party. Python.

Now I've seen it all.

Gojira said...

Closer to home, this is why I always go to Economy Candy Company on Rivington instead of the hellhole belonging to Dylan Lauren.

laura said...

the new candy store is lower class, not upscale. uneducated people have made $, can afford to pay higher prices. (&travel). this is world wide, not only NYC. let me say, this is an aspect of democracy i dont approve of. if you study world history, you will see that there was always a strict seperation of classes. @ one time, most people couldnt even read & write. (elite, or clergy). rather than re hashing, lets get back to currect events. bedsides the lowerclass influence, the tween/teen market rules. this is everywhere, its hot. even the internet is geared for this mentality. (be my "frweend"???....). considering that modern people stay in the teen stage, (untill 45 or way beyound), the store is appropiate for the mass market. the modern commen person has to have blasting music. this was written up in the NY times. the m.o. is that they will be confused & buy buy buy. teens of all ages, love to party. (i, on the other hand, run away). marketing, last 20yrs- has changed. no longer is a piece of candy, just candy. or jeans, just jeans. but there is an entire interactive envirement around it. music, flashing lights, idiotic marketing schemes. world wide, not only in malls. even a dominos pizza place on a highway in mexico, has a huge speaker w/music in the parking lot. a small roasted chicken place has a big speaker outside. louder the better. buying any thing anywhere is a circus pony act. for the candy, the sex aspect is the selling point. maybe madonna's "hard candy" was the inspiration. geesh....i must be jaded, its so bor-ing. (like madonna). i do like the old fashioned sign above the store, the rest is hidious. admit you are all elitist snobs. get to coney island as fast as you can, the days are numbered.

Kyle Campion said...

“Our candy stores are not your typical ‘old fashioned and stale’ stores but more of a hip and cool place where customers can find so many exclusive, unique and fun products" ... In a sane world nobody who would say something like this would have the slightest bit of authority. What is it with these CEO types and saying "hip"?

It goes to show you how low the bar is in order to run a company in this country.

I could probably write a good novel on here about this but I'm sure you're all already thinking the same thing. Either way, the moral of the story is to support the local business and to shun all of these faux unique "Coney Cones" type frauds.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jeremiah!

I very much enjoyed reading your posting. I' ve never been to New York so I can' t compare old and new Coney Island but with your beautiful description the good old times came alife - even for me. I fully agree with you when you vote for those "old-fashioned" stores like "William's". This is something breathing the era of youth and childhood, something heartful, dedicated to make the customer (who - in this moment - appears more as a partner, a friend) feel good. A place where you really want to be - safe, warm and friendly.

I absolutely dislike those "bigger, faster, more, 200% for half the price, bashing your brain with the most stupid music ever heard, titts included etc." stores, too. Do they really think we are that stupid?

I' ve bookmarked your Blog. It' s really worth reading. Get on with it, please.

Best

Frank Bergers, Germany

laura said...

the candy costs more because of the added expenses, all the un-necessary frills. people are paying for an "experience". since NY is now a tourist place, get ready for a massive experience all over. classless, vulgar, "hip". (we dont want to be hip)!

Ken Mac said...

so happy Williams Candy is alive and well..

Sinestra said...

This horrid place reminds me of the "Stupid spoiled whore" video playset from South Park.

Anonymous said...

Gross, tacky and distasteful, especially when I think of who they are marketing to- teens, tweens and kids. So they can aspire to be like the pictures of whorish girls fellating candy in schoolgirl clothing and buy vulgar gifts that say Bitch and WTF.
IT'SKANKY

Anonymous said...

I'm glad the spokesperson for IT'SSUGAR thinks their store is so hip, using pop culture motifs that were popularized in the 60's & 70's (Andy Warhol and the stones mouth),Glam, New Wave/Slutty models of the 80's, loud music etc..A complete regurgitation of a formerly innovative past...Trust me, I've seen it all come into play, and IT'SUGAR is the one that is STALE. Williams is timeless.....

Jeremiah Moss said...

Sinestra, thank you for pointing me in the direction of this piece of genius!

http://www.southparkstudios.com/full-episodes/s08e12-stupid-spoiled-whore-video-playset

laura said...

ESQUITES= a privileged class. sorry ass bxxches giving bxxw jobs to candy bars.

Pat said...

Looking at this shit is like looking at the fall of the Roman Empire. The girl in the schoolgirl skirt reminds me of the lap dancer in "Exotica."

Anonymous said...

The girls seem to be enjoying that well endowed candy snake...

This is a clear indication that people will sell their souls for a profit.

This is a f*king candy store, and they promote this kind of disgusting behavior to children?

Sinestra said...

Glad you liked it, J- now run out and buy the latest "Skanque" cologne for the special lady in your life.

Anonymous said...

So what giant, faceless corporation runs the "Coney Cones type frauds"?
Where are there other locations? I'd like to know.You seem to have some inside knowledge.