Bittersweet goodbye as Alphabet City candy store closes its doors after nearly 40 years

ALPHABET CITY, Manhattan (WABC) -- It's been the sweet spot for generations of families, but a beloved Manhattan candy store is closing its doors.

Raul's Candy Store in Alphabet City will be open one last day on Thursday after nearly 40 years in business.

From the outside it looks like a piece of history, with its faded store sign and weathered glass.

But then you peek inside and you see why this store survived for nearly four decades.

Because within these walls, time has stood still.

"I would love to go to school, wake up every morning, get dressed, take a bath and go to school, my first stop was the candy store," longtime customer Jenny Nieves said.

Nieves was in middle school when the store opened in 1981 at this location on Avenue B.

But 75-year-old owner Raul Santiago says it's time to leave and Thursday will be his last day.

"I'm tired," Santiago said. "I've watched the kids have kids, and their kids have kids."

Then again, some kids never grow up. "My hair has turned white, but I still feel like a kid, I love candy," a longtime customer said.

The thing about this store is that it's like an assorted bag of candies.

They're all different. Some are sweet, some are sour, like a lifetime of memories. But they all belong to this store.

"Okay at the time, to be honest, he was very grouchy," Nieves said.

Nieves says Mr. Santiago wasn't so sweet at first. The kids used to stretch down Avenue B and it drove him crazy.

"When there was a line outside just to get candies he couldn't take it, he was so frustrated," Nieves said.

But she learned over time he was kind and generous.

He tried hard to hold on, to the people and the memories.

"It's gonna hurt not hearing the laughter of kids," Santiago said.

He's not the only one who has to learn to let go. "I'm gonna miss all them," Nieves said. "It's gonna be hard because we are family."

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