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Captain Candy leaving Amherst for Northampton

Captain Candy, which opened at the 103 North Pleasant St. Shops three-and-a-half years ago, will close its Amherst location May 5.

Nolan Anaya, who owns both Captain Candy and the North Amherst based Captain Video, said it is an exciting and sad move for the store, which has 175 bins of bulk candy and focuses on treats such as gummy bears, gum drops, licorices, smarties and chocolates.

“Thornes Market is a great institution in Northampton,” said Anaya. He noted that the move will bring with it a new customer base.

He also praised Amherst.

“The town has been incredibly supportive. It’s just not enough,” Anaya said.

Anaya said that while the store remains profitable, local college students are becoming less frequent patrons, and there has been a noticeable drop in revenues as a result.

“The university has done a great job of making amenities more attractive on campus,” Anaya said.

Anaya, who is also a Town Meeting member, said that an emphasis on targeting students with bylaws related to behavioral issues and rental properties, while necessary, has also had the effect of making them feel less welcome in the host community. This could have long-term consequences, he said.

“We’re going to lose the downtown,” Anaya said.

In addition, Anaya said he worries that expansion of the neighboring Unitarian Universalist Society, which will be constructed on a nearby parking lot, would affect both his business and the Panda East Chinese restaurant.

The Northampton store will change a bit from what people are accustomed to in Amherst. While it will remain a candy store that should remind customers of the past, it will be adding retro and superhero toys, as well as new candy he will discover at a national candy convention in Chicago next month.

The changes won’t alter the feel. “It should be a place where you have no choice but to smile when you walk in the door,” Anaya said.

Anaya said Amherst residents will still be able to find some of the candy at Captain Video and the offerings of candy will expand there, as well.

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