Fifth Avenue store offers nostalgic candy, arcade games
November 28, 2022
Good & Plenty. Bottle caps. Candy cigarette bubble gum. Laffy Taffy. Nostalgic candy like this—and nostalgic arcade games—are waiting for you at The Candy Vault in downtown Antigo.
Marc and Lauren Clark opened the store in early October, fresh on the heels of opening their first Candy Vault store in Kewaunee in May.
I have really fond memories of my mom taking us to a penny candy shop down the road from where we lived,” said Lauren Clark, who grew up in Illinois. “His (Marc’s) family always took him to Sweet Memories in Lakewood. So, we have made sure with our four children that we have shared that same experience with them, taking them to different candy stores in different states and stuff like that.”
Marc Clark said it’s not just a store, it’s not just games, it’s not just candy—it’s an experience.
“I’ve even heard a lot of memories of people coming in, and they’re talking about the former cons (gaming conventions),” he said. His wife agreed. “You have others that come in and share memories,” she said. “They remember their parents taking them to candy stores. A lot of feel good memories, which are awesome to hear.”
The Candy Vault located at 735 Fifth Ave., which was the site of a candy store many, many years ago.
“We offer nostalgic and new prepackaged candies,” Lauren Clark said. “After our kitchen is renovated … then we will be able to offer licorice hollows and all of those open, bulk candy.”
She said they will make a few items, but others will arrive in bulk quantities that they will break down for individual sales. The couple lives in Birnamwood and said they saw the store as another opportunity for young teens and children.
“We’d try to cater to anyone coming in that has a tight budget or if it’s a kid coming in with a quarter or something,” Lauren Clark said. “We have a ton of quarter candies.”
er husband is from a family of nearly a dozen children, so the idea today of parents with 10 kids going into a candy store without declaring bankruptcy drove them to keep their prices low. Family sizes and family income levels were in the forefront of their minds.
“I know for certain we have well over 30 different items that are under a quarter,” he said. Distributors from several states provide the candy found in the store and on its website. “The candy buttons are a big one; I remember eating a lot of paper,” Lauren Clark said of her childhood. Sneaky Stardust is another favorite. “It starts out as a powder and then as you chew it, it transitions into a gum,” Marc Clark said. “It’s really weird. I remember growing up, the nickel nips, the wax bottles.” And then, there are the BarNone bars, Abba-Zabas, Slo Pokes and more.
Each of the couple’s four children have their favorite candies or types of candy, and Marc Clark, who is also self-employed as a contractor, said it’s sometimes hard not to sample—a lot. “I eat it all day. I’ll try one of these. I’ll try one of those. I’m a sampler. I will make my rounds through all the candies,” he said.
And what’s nostalgic candy without nostalgic arcade games? “It wouldn’t be complete if we didn’t have games,” Lauren Clark said. “Kids can come in, grab a piece of candy and play some of the games.” Most of the games are a quarter to play, although some are 50 cents, and there are even a few free play games. “We made sure we wanted to include ( free games) if a group of kids comes in after school, and three out of the four had money, the fourth still had something to do,” she said.” Of the 19 games, most offer tickets that can be redeemed for prizes or merchandise.
The store is open from 2-6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Adults and children are encouraged to visit for a trip back to a simpler—and tasty— time. And don’t forget your quarters for Ms. PacMan.