Thursday, February 7, 2019

[Updated] After 43 years in business, Raul Candy Store is closing on Avenue B



"Going out of business" signs now hang in the front window at Rauls Candy Store, bringing an end to the one-of-a-kind shop's nearly 43 years in the neighborhood.

EVG reader Jenny Dembrow shared the photo here from yesterday. Raul closes at the end of the month. No word at the moment why the candy shop/neighborhood hangout/junk shop is closing. (See below for update.)

Raul opened in 1976 on Avenue D, before moving several years later to 208 Avenue B. The shop has been at No. 205 between 12th Street and 13th Street since 1981.

In a September 2012 interview with The Local, Petra Olivieri, wife of owner Raul Santiago, said that their rent was $100 a month on Avenue D. "Then it started going up: $200, $300. Here, we now pay $2,400. So we have to sell a lot more."

Here's more from the Q&A:

Q. You manage all that selling candy?

A. We sell “chucherias” (knick-knacks), candy and sodas. Raul also sells books and other stuff. There’s not that many of these type of stores around anymore.

Q. Are you both from Puerto Rico?

A. 100 percent. I was born in Las Marias and grew up in Mayagüez. Raul is from… I can’t remember where he’s from. Humacao, maybe. I met him here. He used to go to the island every year. I don’t.

Q. Is it mostly Puerto Ricans who buy things here?

A. We get people from all classes, no matter the race or color. Some come in to look and take pictures. Others come to hang out. It’s like in Puerto Rico, where there are “kioskos,” small businesses where neighborhood people get together. We play dominos out here and we have a good time between people of the old guard.

Updated 4:30 p.m.

Stacie Joy stopped by the shop today. Raul says he's "tired and needs to rest." She asked what if anything the community could do and he said nothing. He just wants to stop. He says it's time.


[EVG photo from June 2010]

26 comments:

Trixie said...

No, no, no! Wake me up and tell me this is a nightmare, please.

noble neolani said...

I live around the corner of Raul Candy Store for nearly as long as it has been open. I can't imagine that strip of Ave B without it. I've always loved the social element of it although I never ventured inside it was one of many places of its kind back in the day.
43 years is an incredible run and unlike anything we will see again in this city again.

Unknown said...

disappearing new york :(
what national chain will take their place....
great job with your site. i enjoy following you

Anonymous said...

Never again will a place like this exist organically; not in our corporate, whitewash world. Places that are stuck in time, where there is comfort in the familiar. Where there is community and history, and charm that can only be earned through years and years of use and abuse. Places where the picture frames have been stuck on the wall for so long that they have left their silhouette. Where there is more purpose and meaning than just selling candy and newspapers...

Small Business Congress said...

How many mom and pop stores close before the public demand their lawmakers to stop taking real estate money and pass a law now to give rights to small business owners when their leases expire. Without rights every business has no future in NYC even chains will close.
Vote new people in at next election.

Melo said...

Let clear the air Raul is not being put out is just that time to say goodbye to the neighborhood an enjoy his & his wife life together with his family. Is definitely sad shit brings a lot of childhood memories.

Melo said...

Wow my dad sitting with my aunt looking into the candy store ❤️

Unknown said...

Thank you Raul for being family! Bendiciones

Tainoboricua1956 said...

The old NY is gone.

Jesus said...

I grew up around the corner of that store as a child I remember buying the penny candys and how happy I was to walk out that store with a bag of candy its really sad to see this wonderful memory just go away for me and all the other people that remembers the same..Good bye my dear store and thanks for giving us wonderful memories ��

Unknown said...

Yes Melo!!!! Omg...

Unknown said...

😍😍😍

Cj said...

This is my grandfather shop I’m glad to see that it brought a lot of people happiness and joy I’m actually gonna be closing it down with him On February 22 if y’all wanna come by and say your last goodbye

Unknown said...

that's a historic place;going back to the hippies era;and everything outside and inside is as authentic original

Elizabeth Herring said...

My Dad would hang out with all of the original old timers playing dominoes. It's so sad to have the flavor of the Lower East Side eradicated and replaced by these ugly hipster trap buildings. Adios y que disfruten su retiro!!!

Raul Tello said...

I grew up in there, my father took me there after getting haircuts at Rauls. I wish i could talk to him and run it for him.

Raul Tello said...

Im there bro

Anonymous said...

What a shame. Things never remain the same. :(

Anonymous said...

It has nothing to do with rent!! He and his wife want to retire.

Anonymous said...

Wishing them a long & healthy retirement to enjoy!

@neolani: You've lived around the corner for almost as long as they've been in business, yet you NEVER "ventured inside"? Wow...

Anonymous said...

My adult son took me there and,I was a kid in a CANDY store. You will be missed. Thank you for sweet memories.
Enjoy your retirement.

Michael Paul said...

A sad loss

Roger Guayakan said...

Bodegas are a disappearing facet of our cultural legacy to NYC.

Raju B. said...

This ruined my day. Where else can I buy my favorite tootsie roll flavors. On a student salary a penny each.. I should sue them for emotional distress. R.I.P - papi chili- young abu dhabi.

Anonymous said...

so sad to see it go :(
all of nyc is not the same anymore higher rises higher rents
im proud of raul and family for keeping it this long best of wishes raul and and family do enjoy your retirement it was well serviced the lower east side community for 4decades will be missed walking by and seeing this iconic neighbor store close grew up eating penny candies and limbes de coco was a treat in the summer/year round god bless..

Anonymous said...

sad to see this iconic lower east candy shop close
higher rises higher rents
but it stood strong for over 4decades
i remember as a kid going in to buy penny candies and limbe de coco that was popular in the summer but sold year round and their dulce de coco bread
raul will know all our faces growing up
sorry to see this go
happy retirement raul this neighborhood candy shop will be missed :(