Sweet Memories Vintage Tees Adds Idora Apparel, Retro Toys

LIBERTY TOWNSHIP, Ohio – A visit to Sweet Memories Vintage Tees will make a nostalgia lover feel like a kid in a candy shop.

A vintage candy shop.

Located in an industrial area at 1282 Trumbull Ave., just west of Belmont Avenue, the store is a smorgasbord of T-shirts with vintage logos, plus vintage board games, toys, candy and other small items that were the currency of childhood in the days before the internet.

The rows of T-shirts bear the logos of all things Isaly’s and Good Humor – both companies originated in Youngstown – and numerous other candy-store items, such as Wax Fangs and Double Bubble gum.

The spacious store has gotten even bigger. A 5,000-square-foot addition was recently opened, doubling the store’s size.

The new section is where two new lines of merchandise can be found: retro games and Idora Park apparel.

Sweet Memories Vintage Tees now sales retro toys.

The retro toy section includes board games such as Mousetrap and Operation, and other nonelectronic toys that delighted kids, such as Rock’em Sock’em Robots and the Big Wheel tricycle.

The sale of the Idora goods benefits The Idora Park Experience, which purchases and restores artifacts from the now defunct Youngstown amusement park.

Sweet Memories was started by Linda Barton three years ago.

She had already owned New Dawn Design screen printing, which is in another part of the same building and is where she prints the vintage T-shirts.

In 2019, Barton contacted Unilever to inquire about designing and printing a T-shirt for its Good Humor brand, which was about to celebrate its 100-year anniversary. She was awarded an exclusive license.

Sweet Memories donates $5 from the sale of each Good Humor shirt to the Akron Children’s Hospital neonatal intensive care unit.

“We’ve since raised over $40,000 for Akron Children’s,” she said. “They have named one of their rooms for us.”

When word spread of the donation, other vintage brands came knocking.

T-shirts featuring the Good Humor brand.

Barton now has the license to use logos for Popsicle, Necco Wafers, Circus Peanuts, Bit-O-Honey, Dum Dums, Sweethearts, PEZ, Black Jack gum, Beeman’s gum and Clove gum, Tootsie Roll and Goetz Cow Tails and Bull’s Eyes. Sales from that merchandise also raises money for charitable causes.

After the candy logo apparel came the candy itself.

The store now has rows of candies that were popular decades ago and are still being made and sold in their original packaging.

The store has recently added T-shirts with military logos to its inventory, and recently obtained a license to use the U.S. Space Force insignia.

“It all started with one call to Good Humor,” Barton said.

The Trumbull County Tourism Bureau considers Sweet Memories a destination for visitors near and far, and has devoted a page to it on its website.

Barton has given the store itself a nostalgic touch.

An antique and ornate wooden bar that is about 30 feet long now forms the sales counter. She purchased it from the Trumbull County Land Bank, which had removed it from a bar that was once located on North Park Avenue in Warren.

In addition to its nostalgia, Barton enjoys the historical aspect of her store and likes to share her knowledge with customers.

“When people come in, I tell them about our history,” she said. “Isaly’s invented the Klondike Bar, which turned 100 last year. Lots of younger people don’t know that. It’s our history, and it’s being forgotten.”

The store has sections devoted to Isaly’s and Good Humor, which introduced ice cream on a stick and the ice cream truck more than a century ago.

“These companies left the area, but their brands are still here and are giving back,” Barton said.

Pictured at top: Linda Barton stands in the new retro toy section of her store, Sweet Memories Vintage Tees.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.