Sweet smell of success: Captain Candy opens new store at Holyoke Mall

  • Levi Smith, owner of Captain Candy in Northampton, talks about a second store he has opened on the upper level of the Holyoke Mall at Ingleside. Photographed in Holyoke on Friday, July 17, 2020. Employee Marek Freitag is at the sales counter. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Levi Smith, owner of Captain Candy in Northampton, talks about a second store he has opened in the Holyoke Mall at Ingleside. Photographed in Holyoke on Friday, July 17, 2020. The new store is located on the mall’s second level between the Apple Store and Kids For Less. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Captain Candy owner Levi Smith says that selling chocolates at his new store in the Holyoke Mall is about the only difference in product from the first store, located in Thornes Marketplace in Northampton. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Levi Smith, owner of Captain Candy in Northampton, talks about a second store he has opened in the Holyoke Mall at Ingleside. STAFF PHOTOS/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Levi Smith, owner of Captain Candy in Northampton, talks about a second store he has opened in the Holyoke Mall at Ingleside. Photographed in Holyoke on Friday, July 17, 2020. The new store is located on the mall’s second level between the Apple Store and Kids For Less. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Levi Smith, owner of Captain Candy in Northampton, talks about a second store he has opened on the upper level of the Holyoke Mall at Ingleside. Photographed in Holyoke on Friday, July 17, 2020. Employee Marek Freitag is at the sales counter. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Captain Candy has opened a second location which is on the upper level of the Holyoke Mall between the Apple Store and Kids For Less. Photographed on Friday, July 17, 2020. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Captain Candy has opened a second location which is on the upper level of the Holyoke Mall at Ingleside. Photographed in Holyoke on Friday, July 17, 2020. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

Staff Writer
Published: 7/28/2020 10:04:34 AM

Levi Smith hadn’t even been a year into his lease at Captain Candy in Northampton when he was approached by Holyoke Mall representatives who asked him if he’d be interested in expanding into their shopping center.

The 19-year-old entrepreneur, who bought Captain Candy in Thornes Marketplace last April at age 18, said that, at first, he thought he wasn’t going to go through with it. But after Smith met with the mall officials and did his own business research, he decided to open the second Captain Candy location in the Holyoke Mall on June 22.

“I was going to wait until the opportunity popped up,” Smith said on a recent Friday at his new store. “And it did.”

Just like its Northampton counterpart, Captain Candy in the Holyoke Mall is filled with sweet treats — among these are 64 bins stuffed with candy, 30 bins of chocolate, a few dozen different kinds of candy boxes and a wall covered with PEZ dispensers, “which everyone loves,” according to Smith. The Holyoke store also sells chocolate truffles, which Smith said he can’t sell in Northampton as it would compete with Heavenly Chocolate in Thornes.

Located on the second floor of the Holyoke Mall, Captain Candy is tucked between the Apple Store and Kids For Less, a children’s clothing store. Smith said one of the “driving factors” in deciding to open in the mall was because of this location, with its high foot traffic and revenue opportunities. Smith said he expects the clothing store to bring in kids who might want candy.

“We’re in between two really good stores,” Smith said.

As businesses are slowly reopening following months of closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Smith realizes it’s a strange time to be debuting a new store. He said he signed the lease to the Holyoke Mall store on March 1, before the pandemic ramped up. Smith said he did have the ability to cancel the lease if he wanted to, but he decided against it.

“I knew Northampton was going to stay slower and that this was going to help keep that afloat,” Smith said.

So far, the Holyoke Captain Candy location has been busier than the one in Thornes, Smith said. He said COVID-19 has forced him to focus more on getting people to come to the store to shop. Smith said he isn’t too worried about longer-term implications COVID-19 might have on in-person shopping.

“I have confidence that retail will survive because people need to shop,” he said.

Smith said he is still taking classes at Holyoke Community College and is looking to transfer into the Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts Amherst after this semester. He said he ended up borrowing money again to open up the Holyoke Captain Candy but that he also had some saved. He took advantage of economic injury disaster loans to buy inventory for the Northampton store, freeing up funds to put toward his new endeavor.

“The opening cost was actually significantly less than what I purchased the Northampton store for, which surprised me,” Smith said.

The Holyoke Mall at 50 Holyoke St. is open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Michael Connors can be reached at mconnors@gazettenet.com.

Please support the Daily Hampshire Gazette’s COVID-19 coverage

Thank you for your support of the Gazette.




Daily Hampshire Gazette Office

115 Conz Street
Northampton, MA 01061
413-584-5000

 

Copyright © 2019 by H.S. Gere & Sons, Inc.
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy