Video and candy store hosts farewell party
MARBLEHEAD, Mass. (AP) — With customers flowing in and out of Chet’s Video and Candy Shoppe on Saturday, eager to search through movie deals, munch on some candy and popcorn, and visit the shop one last time, the store which has been open for more than 25 years showed a glimpse of its glory days.
“This is the busiest I’ve seen it here,” said Chris Quealy, long time customer and friend of the owners. “It’s remarkable.
“As cliche as it sounds this place has been a staple of the town. It’s helped Marblehead keep that old school feel.”
For anyone who has met owner Chet Strout or his wife Carrie Thomas, the store lined with shelves of movies has been a sort of second home for them or their children.
“Our kids grew up at Chet’s,” said Kim Breed, who visited the store on its last day with his wife Gigi. “They’ve provided great customer service, but what they have provided to the community is special.”
“It’s a pillar of the community,” Gigi said.
Visitors and friends popped into the shop throughout the afternoon, bringing food and desserts. A collage lined with old photos and newspaper clips painted a picture of the shop’s long history and relationship with the community.
“It’s surreal today,” Thomas said.
Strout said that the eventual closing of his business was something he could see coming for a long time with streaming services starting to take over the industry and last year’s revenues being especially low and revealing.
“I had the best job ever for 25 years,” Strout said. “It’s bittersweet but I’m excited to see everyone today.”
Chet’s son Brian said he is not the sentimental type, but he still recalls spending days in the stockroom playing video games.
“It’s the equivalent to selling a childhood home,” he said. “There’s a lot of memories from my childhood here, it’s a bittersweet feeling.”
For Chet, and his custom labeled soda, a career selling candy isn’t over. The Orange Leaf frozen yogurt shop in Marblehead will be taking on Chet part time.
“I didn’t want the community to lose its candy store for their kids,” he said.