Samuel's Candy Shop is tucked away in Rhinebeck Village, serving colorful candy that stimulates taste senses even while still in their packaging. It almost closed down after its owner died.
Samuel's Sweet Shop, an old-fashioned candy business, just celebrated its 27th anniversary. The business, which has been a vital part of the community in Rhinebeck, New York, nearly closed down in 2014 when its owner, Ira Gutner, died, per USA Today. The business was purchased by Paul Rudd, Jeffery Dean Morgan as a gift to themselves and the community. They'd been coming here for years, like so many others in the region, and couldn't bear the notion of the place closing down. The shop is tucked away in Rhinebeck Village, serving colorful candy that stimulates taste senses even while still in their packaging.
The shop offers a variety of delicacies with icing and pastel hues, retro packaging, and witty names like Sour Rainbow Belts, Muzzle Loaders, and Clodhoppers. Rudd and Dean along with their spouses Julie Rudd and Hilarie Burton helped put Samuel's legacy in the limelight in recent months by promoting the company on national television shows. Despite the limelight, the candy store has preserved its local character under the direction of a Rhinebeck resident, John Traver, who started working at Samuel's 15 years ago. He spoke to USA Today, "It continued to operate in the wake of Ira’s death. Due to lots of hard work and good fortune, it continued to operate." He is now a partner in the store and manages all its activities.
Rudd and Morgan are heavily active with the candy business, with the former even occasionally working at the register. Rudd said, "One of the most important things any human can experience is to be a part of a community and feel connected to where you live and to other people who live there, especially in a job like mine." They both have homes in Rhinebeck and visit the store regularly. Morgan also emphasized the sense of community that the store has bought into his life. He says, "It's the first time I've felt at home in my entire adult life. It's a combination of the people and the scenery. It's a different vibe from my 20 years in LA when I didn't even know my neighbors."
Traver recalls the foreboding sensation he had following Gunter's death. He didn't have the funds to acquire and manage the store, and it appeared like it was just a matter of time until it closed. As he was beginning to lose hope, Morgan contacted him and informed him that he, Rudd, and a couple of other people want to help in keeping the store running. Traver recalls this moment by saying, "I had lost my friend. But these really great people came forward and helped me and saved the local candy store and now I have this incredible opportunity to make this place as successful as I can, which is awesome. It’s great." He says, "There was triumph out of tragedy."
"The best thing about being an owner of a candy shop is getting my favorite holiday candy in June," Morgan jokes. Hilarie Burton, a partner at the shop and his wife says, "The magic of Samuel’s, especially during the holidays, makes me feel like a little girl again. Samuel’s strives to be the trophy case for all the talented people we have in our community."
Cover Image Source: Samuels Sweet Shop/Instagram