GIRARD – Sweet Memories Vintage Tees, the largest manufacturer of licensed candy-logo apparel in Ohio, opened a store Feb. 10 at 1282 Trumbull Ave. in Girard.
Company owner-founder Linda Barton wholesales her apparel to candy stores nationwide. She says she was inspired to go a step forward and open a retail candy store that will commemorate candy and treats made in Youngstown.
The new store also offers apparel and gifts with sales benefiting Akron Children’s Hospital Mahoning Valley.
The store is stocked with vintage candy, nostalgic sodas, licensed candy apparel, and the largest collection of Klondike and Good Humor apparel in the country, Barton says.
Both brands were founded and manufactured in Youngstown.
The store also sells salvaged stained-glass windows, prepared by Three Flags Architectural Salvage of Hubbard, and other antiques.
The grand opening included a check presentation to Akron Children’s Hospital.
Barton says she launched the company three years ago and has experienced “nonstop expansion.”
Barton felt inspired to give back to the community and picked Akron Children’s Hospital as a beneficiary, saying the hospital saved her daughter’s life when she was young.
Twenty percent of the sales of her Sweets and Treats T-shirts are donated to the hospital. The company has raised more than $25,000 for Akron Children’s over the past two years, Barton says.
After Good Humor learned about her fundraising, the company gave her the rights for Popsicle apparel.
That’s when things really took off, she says.
In 2021, Barton acquired licensing for Dum-Dums, Necco, Sweethearts, Smarties, PEZ, Bosco chocolate, Starkist and Tootsie Roll Industries brands. Those brands include Dots, Caramel Apple Pops, Andes, Charms/Blow Pops, Sugar Daddy, Sugar Mama, Sugar Babies, Junior Mints, Charleston Chew, Cella’s and Dubble Bubble.
In 2022, Barton expanded her reach into military brands, entering into licensing deals with the U.S. Army and U.S. Navy. Proceeds benefit veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Sweet Memories has also partnered with The National Packard Museum in Warren.
This year, Barton says Sweet Memories will launch licensing partnerships with AirHeads, the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Space Force, Isaly’s, Klondike, Breyers, Peeps, Mike and Ike, and Hot Tamales.