By Cody Willoughby
PIQUA — On Friday, despite the frigid weather, multiple vehicles were lined up outside a curiously bright yellow building along State Route 185 on the west end of Piqua. Inside the building were a number of patrons, young and old, browsing through shelves upon shelves of modern wrapped candies, old-fashioned chocolate bars, taffy assortments, chocolate mix varieties, fruit chewables, and just about every single-wrapped hard candy one could think of, many of which are scoopable and available for purchase by the pound.
Standing behind the counter just inside the door was Richard Young, the owner and proprietor of the bright yellow confectionery shop quizzically titled Candy on the Curve, a reference to the building’s location just past the 90-degree bend in the state route as it leaves town.
In recent weeks, Richard, along with his wife, Lesley, publicly announced their plans to close the doors of Candy on the Curve for good, concluding the store’s regular hours on Wednesday, Feb. 28. Along with their announcement came proclamations of special sales and discounts, in an effort to sell off their bountiful stock of sweet treats by their projected end date.
“Are you going to paint your building a different color once you’re done?” One patron asked.
“We’re going to have to,” said Young. “We’ll definitely have to. People are still going to recognize the yellow paint as the candy store, so it’ll have to go.”
“These kids will sure be sad.” The patron said, gesturing toward their youngsters.
Without hesitation, Young replied, “Yeah, me too.”
Before ever getting involved in confectionery retail, Richard and Lesley Young were affluent professionals within the Miami Valley area, including affiliation with local fire departments and ownership of Lithotech in Covington for nearly a decade.
“After Lithotech, I worked for Industry Products across town, and retired about two and a half years ago,” said Richard. “My wife worked for Lowe’s in Sidney, and she retired four years ago. Right around when she was getting ready to retire, we started talking one day, and she mentioned how she’d always wanted to put something in here. I said, ‘Well, how about a candy store? I’ve always wanted a candy store.’ So we tore everything out, and repainted, and that’s what we ended up with.”
“I was totally aghast at first,” said Lesley Young, in response to her husband’s wishes for the building. “We’d been married over 20 years by then, and I had no idea he’d ever wanted a candy store. In the moment, that wasn’t my idea of retirement, but we ended up having a lot of good times with it. ”
The official opening of the store took place on Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012. Since then, Richard and Lesley have managed mostly to build their business through local word-of-mouth, maintaining a presence on social media through Facebook with consistent reminders to “look for the big, yellow building”, located directly behind their Piqua residence.
The Youngs have claimed their decision to close Candy on the Curve is not due to any pressing concerns, but rather for a desire to move on to other ambitions.
“The business has been wonderful, but we just decided that there’s some other things that we want to start doing,” said Richard. “If we want to go to the park for the day, we’ll be able to go to the park for the day. We’re looking forward to just enjoying the rest of our life as retired.”
Future plans for the building are yet to be determined, but the Youngs do not intend to let it stay vacant for long.
“We’ll have something in here eventually,” said Lesley. “It just won’t be a five-day-a-week thing. We’d like to get out of a strict schedule. I’ve talked to some people already about a couple of projects I’d love to use the building for, so we’ll see where those go.”
“All of our advertising and everything says to look for the big yellow building, so in the meantime, we’ll repaint to an off-color.” said Richard. With a tinge of melancholy, he said, “That’ll be a moment.”
Throughout Candy on the Curve’s history, the Youngs have procured for themselves a warm reputation throughout the community for their affability and welcoming spirit. Despite the building’s time as a candy store coming to an end, Richard and Lesley both feel that running the store has been one of the greatest experiences of their lives.
“It’s been the best time – better than I even expected,” said Richard, of the five years at the location. “We really appreciate the public’s participation in the store. We couldn’t have done it without them. A lot of the people that have been in are people whose lives we’ve gotten to touch sometime over the years, and all of a sudden, they’re here, and we reconnect again.”
“In the five years we’ve had it, we’ve not had a bad customer,” said Lesley. “We’ve never had a bad check, or a bad card, or people trying to get out of paying. We’ve made a lot of good friends, and hope they still keep in touch once the store is gone.”
We had a lot of people who were here every week, practically, or at least once a month. We always knew when to expect them and knew what they were going to get. It’s the only place you can come in as a stranger and leave with a hug. We got to be friends with a lot of people, and embraced them as they left. That was what made the whole thing worth it.”
For more information, visit Candy on the Curve on Facebook.