Business

The Candy Man, which dates back to the 1960s, will close with sale of Orient building

The Candy Man, the iconic Orient candy shop, is on the market. The business will close with the sale of the property. 

Two adjacent commercial properties are for sale, listed at $2.5 million. One includes The Candy Man shop and the other includes a free-standing building. Both parcels, on Main Road just off of Village Lane in Orient, are zoned business and total just under half an acre. The family wants to sell both properties together, according to real estate agent Nicholas Planamento. 

He emphasized that the Orient properties offer a lot of retail potential and said there’s been a lot of interest in the property so far. The business name is not for sale. 

“The sellers have no interest in selling the family business name. They don’t mind allowing somebody to continue the business. They’re just not interested in selling the business name with the business,” Mr. Planamento said. “They want to protect it. That’s their family legacy.”

Jim_Michta of the Candy Man in 2018. (Credit: Rachel Siford)

The Candy Man owners declined an interview. When asked why the business was put up for sale, Mr. Planamento said running a small business is a lot of work. 

“At some point, I think you just get tired. And this has been going on for lifetimes,” he said. “So many things come and go. And it’s just a different world today. You know, this is something that really harkens back to an earlier time, certainly on the North Fork.”

The family-run candy-making shop has been established for decades. The current owner, Jim Michta, and his wife, Debbie, took over the business from his wife’s grandfather — the original candy man. 

Mr. Michta told The Suffolk Times in a 2018 interview that his wife’s grandfather retired in Orient in the 1960s and started making chocolate rabbits in his garage as a side hobby. The rabbits were a hit and he bought a former gas station to convert into the candy shop.

Mr. Michta said his mother-in-law and father-in-law ran the store for about 10 years, before he and his wife moved to Orient and eventually took over making the candy. 

“We’ve been out here since 1988. It’ll be 30 years this year,” he said in 2018. “Time is flying by. It’s just a matter of time, you figure out the routine for a while. We’ve figured out what we need for each season.”

For a “Work We Do” article, Mr. Michta said he makes creams and jellies on Mondays; cuts and rolls them on Tuesdays, to be set overnight; and then dips them in chocolate on Wednesdays. On Fridays, Mr. Michta and his family make the barks, peanut brittles and anything else that might be needed.

“It’s one of the only candy shops that makes candy here. Every rabbit here is made for Easter right here and we make the chocolate baskets. We don’t make things like jelly beans or gummy bears, stuff like that; but a lot of the stuff we make right here and sell here, fresh,” Mr. Michta said. “I enjoy it. It’s just a sweet, sweet job.”

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