As we stepped across the threshold of the Stirling General Mercantile, it was as if we stepped back in time. There were all the favourite treats of my childhood; candies that I didn't even know were made anymore. There are black balls and black licorice pipes, Big League Chew and Thrills gum, countless flavours of salt water taffy, old fashioned candy sticks and more. But more than just a candy store, the Stirling General Mercantile is an experience.
I don't know who was more excited, me or the kids. It was fun to point out all of my childhood favourites. The most exciting part of the experience, however, is the option to fill a bag from the rows of jars on and behind the counter.
It reminded me of when I was a child. On Sundays I would put a coin in the Sunday School offering and then after church I would go to the General Store next door. With a two dollar allowance, I would have money to give, enough to get a pop and bag of chips and a brown paper bag full of penny candy, and still have a little leftover to save.
At the Mercantile you can still get a nice paper bag full of candy for a couple of dollars. You let them know your budget and they help you fill your bag, letting you know when you are near reaching your limit. We had fun selecting candy. There is so much to choose from, the children wanted to try one of everything. From jelly beans to sour gummies they have it all.
At one point a young boy came through the door, having parked his scooter on the sidewalk in front of the store. He asked if there was any "counter candy" and proceeded to search in between the jars for any candy that had fallen in the process of filling bags. Apparently "counter candy" is something that is known to local kids; anything on the counter is fair game. He left with his pockets full and was out the door and back on his scooter again.
I can see this becoming a regular family outing. Sweet memories for a sweet tooth.