In 2011, Thor Equities put up new signage atop the blue construction fence at the corner of Surf and Stillwell Avenues, the gateway to Coney’s beach and Boardwalk amusement parks: “CONEY ISLAND – The RETAIL RIDE of a LIFETIME.” After eight years of real estate speculation and the rezoning of Coney, Thor CEO Joe Sitt’s retail ride finally begins this season. ATZ has learned exclusively from sources that candy retailer It’Sugar will be the first tenant at Thor’s new building at Surf and Stillwell. The plywood has come down from the boarded-up new building, which was completed last January, and interior construction of the corner store is underway for a May 3rd opening of It’Sugar Coney Island.
The Florida-based company was founded in 2006 and is “one of the largest and fastest growing specialty candy and gift retailers in the world with over 70 retail locations,” according to one of their press releases. ATZ went to the It’Sugar store on Manhattan’s Upper West Side to check it out.
The place is pink ‘n’ yellow with a sparkly garnet floor and the music is blaring. It’s impossible not to smile at the sight of a supersized, one pound pack of Reese’s peanut butter cups and a one pound Hershey’s chocolate bar paired for Valentine’s Day until you look at the price tag — $40. There’s also a kiosk of old school candy like Necco Wafers and Goo Goo Clusters, jewelry that looks like sweets, T-shirts and novelty items.
Among the candy retailer’s other locations are the Atlantic City Boardwalk, San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf, the Grand Canal Shoppes at the Venetian in Las Vegas, Universal Citywalk in California and malls from Alabama to the United Arab Emirates. There are also 22 “shops in shops” in Macy’s including Herald Square and such New York City tourist destinations as Madame Tussaud’s and Radio City Music Hall.
The upscale candy store will be the first sight visitors see when they exit Stillwell Terminal and will open in a Coney Island that is rapidly changing. Three national franchises– Applebee’s, Johnny Rockets and Red Mango–have signed leases for the north side of Surf Avenue, on property not owned by Thor. If you’re a regular reader of ATZ, you’ll know we’re not a fan of the plan to “revitalize” Coney Island by bringing in formula businesses and franchises. As we’ve written previously: Coney Island, the birthplace of the hot dog, the roller coaster, and the enclosed amusement park is famous for its quirky authenticity, but it’s about to look and taste more like Anyplace USA.
Related posts on ATZ…
February 15, 2013: Williams Candy Moves Next Door During Post-Sandy Renovation
December 24, 2012: In Thor’s Coney Island, Discount on Retail Ride of a Lifetime
December 19, 2012: Will Coney Island’s Surf Ave Become a Mecca for Franchises?
March 12, 2010: Photo of the Day: Williams Candy in Coney Island