Big sweets chain opens near candy-apple Mecca

The Brooklyn Paper
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Call it a sugar showdown!

National candy retailer It’s Sugar opened a Coney Island location on May 3 in Thor Equities’ long-vacant building at the corner of Surf and Stillwell avenues — just one block away from 73-year-old People’s Playground staple Williams Candy.

Jeff Rubin, founder and Chief Executive Officer of It’s Sugar — which has 70 stores worldwide — said that sweet-toothed and cavity-riddled Coney-goers would choose his new shop over Williams Candy and its famous homemade candy apples and marshmallow treats because of the chain’s sleek, trendy vibe and jumbo, novelty-size boxes of Nerds, SweeTarts, Laffy Taffy, Gobstoppers, Pop Rocks, and Snickers bars

“Our candy stores are not your typical ‘old fashioned and stale’ stores but more of a hip and cool place where customers can find so many exclusive, unique and fun products,” said Rubin.

But Williams Candy owner Peter Agrapides said he is not afraid of a tooth-rotting rivalry — partly because his store makes half its money by catering events, and partly because he contended with the old Phillips Candy shop located inside the Stillwell Avenue train station for decades. He predicted people would continue to come to his store for old-school confections, just like they have for decades.

“I got no problem with competition. Competition is always good,” said Agrapides, who took over the store at the corner of Surf Avenue and Schweikerts Walk 28 years ago. “Why have people been coming here for all these years? We got a good store, we got good food, people like our store and our merchandise.”

Agrapides said he was close to Phillip’s Candy owner John Dorman until station reconstruction forced Dorman to relocate his store to Staten Island in 2001 — and added that he was open to having an equally sticky-sweet relationship with It’s Sugar.

“I’m friends with everybody. If these people want to be friendly, I’ll be friends with them too,” said Agrapides. “God bless ’em.”

Reach reporter Will Bredderman at or by calling (718) 260-4507. Follow him
Updated 10:10 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

diehipster from real Brooklyn says:
I will still go to William's - no doubt about that. Any "chain" or other out-of-place feature that you'll see in Coney in the coming years is a direct result of the hipster/yupster invasion of the last decade.

They brought sterilization and homogenization with them from their suburban settings and the corporations have tracked them the whole time. Soon Nathan's will be a Barnes and Nobles for inbred, pasty nasally culdesacians to hang out in all day and drink coffee as they pretend to be intellectuals in the whimsical land of Nieuw Breuckelen.
May 8, 2013, 6:33 am
Or from Yellow Hook says:
How can Mayor for Life Mike allow this!
May 8, 2013, 1:11 pm
Or from Yellow Hook says:
How can Mayor for Life Mike allow this!
May 8, 2013, 1:37 pm
C Jota from Bay Ridge says:
Diehispter, I actually have to disagree with you on the whole chain-store hipster correlation. Time-Square became Disney World North as a result of Giuliani and Bloomberg policies, not hipsters. Bloomberg and his administration have the same idea in mind with Coney Island. Be real for a second, the soon to be Applebee's on Surf Ave is not exactly what I would call a mecca of hispterdom. Suburbia? Yea, for sure.

If you want to blame the hipsters for "artisan mayo" shops, I'm right on-board with you, but you're reaching with this candy shop.
May 9, 2013, 3:22 pm
nancy from coney says:
I will take my business as always to Williams
there the prices are fair there the candy is clean
its sugar doesn't watch what people do I saw people opening the loose candy jars taking candy with bare hands one kid didn't like the candy he took and spit it back into the jar and I said something 2 the workers and they did nothing that's disgusting
May 10, 2013, 10:49 pm

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