Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIII, No. 27
 
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Coldwell Banker Princeton Office

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It’s New to Us by Jean Stratton


SWEET TREATS: “I like seeing the customers happy and enjoying themselves. They’re from all over the area, and they’re all ages — kids, parents, grandparents. Parents come in with their kids, and it’s a fun place to be.” Julissa Guzman, manager of Ricky’s Candy, Cones & Chaos, is shown by a special display of candy baskets, suitable for birthdays and many other occasions.

Ricky’s Candy, Cones & Chaos on Nassau Street Celebrates 5th Anniversary With Sweet Treats

Summertime — the sweetest season for many. Ice cream cones and candy treats are as much a part of summer as baseball games, days at the shore, swimming, sailing, and sunshine.

No one knows this better than Ricky’s Candy, Cones & Chaos at 140 Nassau Street. This special candy, ice cream, and party store will celebrate its fifth anniversary this month.

“We are set apart by our selection,” says operating president Donald Cheng. “It’s one of the largest candy selections anywhere. 70 to 80 percent of our business is candy, and we have every kind, including bin after bin of bulk candy.”

Opened by owner Rick Barber in 2004, Ricky’s has continued to grow and evolve, notes Mr. Cheng. “The original idea was to have ice cream and candy for a party. Then, plush toys were added. Now, we want to expand our focus and include more events and parties at the store. Not only birthday parties, but baby showers, graduation parties, bar/bat mitzvahs, even having favors and candies for wedding receptions. We really want to emphasize the service category.

Good Match

“In addition,” he continues, “we are going forward with an international expansion of our candy line. We’ll have Godiva chocolate as well as candy from Japan and Korea. We will still have all our bulk candy, chocolate bars, and other candy, but we will become a specialty candy store. We plan to reconfigure the store and make it more international.

“There are a lot of people living or visiting in Princeton from Asia and Europe, and they’ll enjoy finding something familiar. Also, many people in Princeton travel, and they are familiar with candy from abroad. It will be a good match.”

In the meantime, Ricky’s is a true “Candy Land” for kids five to 95! Everything you could want to tweak the sweet tooth is on hand — from the tried and true to the hottest and latest. Dots, Pez, and Sugar Babies from days gone by are still big sellers, as are M&Ms, Milky Ways, Gummy Bears, and Jelly Bellies. Current favorites with the small set are Swedish fish, novelty sports theme candy, and the very popular sour candies.

“The younger kids love the sour candy,” says manager Julissa Guzman. “It comes in many forms. ‘Sour Straws.’ ‘Pucker Powder,’ ‘Toxic Waste’ hard pieces and sprays, and in a variety of flavors, including watermelon, sour green apples, and sour grapes. The Jelly Bellies are still very popular too.”

Candy purchases are self-service. Just help yourself, fill up the bag, take it to be weighed, and enjoy it at $2.29 a quarter pound.

The ice cream, which is made on the premises, is a favorite, especially in the summer, she adds. Cones, cups, and milkshakes are available, with 18 flavors and unlimited toppings offered. Everyone loves the “Chaos Center”, where customers can create their own sundaes, with hot fudge, caramel, walnuts, whipped cream, marshmallows, etc.

Ice Cream Cakes

Among the flavors, mint chocolate chip is very popular now, as are cookie dough and Oreo cheesecake. Traditional chocolate and vanilla, of course, are never out of favor. Cones are $2.99.

Ice cream cakes are also available. They are typically half chocolate and half vanilla, but they can be customized to the customer’s taste. Two to three days notice is appreciated.

Ricky’s is a very bright and colorful store. Its signature lime green decor is highlighted by the plush mascot Ricky, the Green Dragon and his “friends”. A “waffle cone” theme is also evident, including cone-shaped chairs.

A big variety of plush toys is on display in all sizes and colors. Handbags with animal accents are big sellers at $16.50, and the plush toys start at $5.

Happy Memories

Parties at Ricky’s are popular, reports Mr. Cheng. The store can seat nearly 40, with a private room for 16. There is also seating outside on weekends.

“We keep the kids occupied,” he says. “We plan to put in a 100-foot projection screen and have movie parties. The ability to be media interactive is important today. We will also have a sound track of retro cartoons. It’s fun to bring back happy memories for people. And we’ll have a new line of toys, including some with a movie tie-in, such as the new Harry Potter movie. We hope to have game parties and movie props themes, too. The idea is to build an entertainment/theme location.

“Ricky’s provides buying candy and entertainment at the same time,” he continues. “It’s a better shopping experience, and it’s fun. We have great customer service, and we want guests to discover something new whenever they come in.”

In addition, he notes that a new nutritional food selection will be offered. “More people want to eat healthier now, and we will offer candy choices with vitamins, among other items. We also have sugar-free candy and ice cream.”

Ricky’s is open Sunday through Wednesday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Thursday 11 to 9, Friday 11 to 10, Saturday 10 to 10. (609) 430-9077. Website: www.candyconesandchaos.com.

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