The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Latest News

December 8, 2012

Volunteers join to sweeten holiday for ‘candy man’

JOHNSTOWN — The Candy Store has seen better days.

Dwindling stock and fewer customers over the years have placed the Market Street penny candy store in jeopardy of closing.

But a hardy group of volunteers on Saturday vowed to keep the shop open.

More than 25 men and women from the Mommy’s Club Garage Sale group turned out to clean and stock the bare shelves. The group is a network of hundreds of local moms and volunteers.

“We want to make the place amazing again,” Mommy’s Club founder Lisa Kozich said. “The candy shop holds a special place in our hearts.”

Bill Felix opened a small Franklin Street shop in 1978. Several other candy shops followed. Only the Market Street shop remains open, barely clinging to life.

Volunteers, many of whom visited the shop as youngsters, filled the shelves with bubble gum, Tootsie Pops, popcorn, Twizzlers, gobs and much more.

They scrubbed away dust from glass shelves, scraped chewing gum off the floor and mopped away dirt.

“It’s amazing and completely unexpected,” Felix said. “I want to stay in business. This is my town.”

Felix is coy about his age and the number of years he has been selling candy.

He joked that Attila the Hun and Moses were some of his earliest customers.

During the cleanup, someone uncovered what is believed to be Felix’s birth certificate.

The date was May 6, 1935.

“That was a major find,” said Melissa Komar of Johnstown. “It’s something he may need some day.”

Shorty’s Italian Smokehouse, a West Hills pizza and rib restaurant, donated a mini refrigerator and pizza for the volunteers Saturday. An “open” sign was provided with the help of Lowes.  

“My parents used to bring me here,” said Beckie Fetsko of Windber. “I wanted to come back and see it.”

She arrived with her mother and son, Riley Fetsko.

Riley recalled visiting the store one day with his grandfather.

“I remember a little thing that had pamphlets on it from DelGrosso Amusement Park,” said Riley, 12.

“They had added some new rides. It brings back memories of that one day.”

Kozich said her friend, Candice Thomas of Johnstown, made her aware of the candy man’s plight.

Thomas said her mother works in the bakery at Ideal Market and often sees Felix when he buys coffee and donuts.

“One day he mentioned that he had less then one dollar in his pocket and wasn’t able to buy coffee,” Thomas said. “She gave him a few dollars.”

On Saturday, the good Samaritans decorated the store front for Christmas and added furniture to an apartment in the rear of the store, where Felix lives.

Donations will be used to purchase candy from Blair Candy Co. Inc. in Altoona to keep the shelves at Felix’s shop full, Kozich said.

“We want to make people aware that he’s still here,” she said.

Those wishing to donate can send an email to

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat print edition.

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat e-edition.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Latest News
  • Raw oysters spike U.S. rise in bacterial infections, CDC reports

    Raw oysters, so good with hot sauce, increasingly can carry something even more unsettling to the stomach: A bacteria linked to vomiting, diarrhea and pain.

    April 19, 2014

  • Consumer spending on health care jumps as Affordable Care Act takes hold

    Nancy Beigel has known since September that she would need hernia surgery. She couldn't afford it on her $11,000 yearly income until she became eligible for Medicaid in January through President Barack Obama's signature health care law.

    April 19, 2014

  • VIDEO | Boston bomb scare defendant appears in court

    The man accused of carrying a backpack containing a rice cooker near the Boston Marathon finish line on the anniversary of the bombings was arraigned Wednesday. He's being held on $100,000 bail.

    April 19, 2014

  • Denne, Williams & Stanton Records hearing scheduled

    A Cambria County judge will consider complaints filed by two Johnstown residents seeking documents related to the city’s municipal waste water operation at hearing at the end of this month.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sen. Bob Casey Casey targets heroin

    The heroin trade has brought addiction, death, violence and theft to Johnstown and other Pennsylvania communities.
    Figuring out how to deal with those issues is difficult for local, state and federal officials.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Drive-in to open with high-tech projector

    Drive-in movie theaters and the term “state of the art” seldom share the same sentence.
    But that will soon be the case for the Silver Drive-In, it’s owner said. The Scalp Avenue site, often marketed as a nostalgic summer night escape, soon will boast a high-end projector capable of displaying the latest and greatest blockbusters in razor sharp high-definition, theater owner Rick Rosco said.

    April 18, 2014

  • Sheetz work underway

    Earthmoving is underway at Richland Town Centre for a nearly 6,500-square-foot Sheetz store.
    And the real estate broker marketing the land says a 3,000-square-foot retail building will be built next door.

    April 18, 2014

  • Smith, Shakir Mosi Police seize heroin, money in Prospect

    Johnstown police reported that several bricks of heroin, along with $4,000 in cash and a handgun, were discovered in the city's Prospect neighborhood around 4 a.m. Friday. An arrest warrant has been issued for the man be­lieved to be the owner or renter of the two homes raided.

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • Comedy night targets serious problem

    Animal advocates are using comedy to take aim at a serious problem.
    The third annual Funny Fundraiser to benefit the Nardecchia Spay and Neuter Fund will be held at 8 p.m. May 16 at Ace’s, 316 Chestnut St. in the Cambria City section of Johnstown.

    April 18, 2014

  • Local briefs 4/19/2014

    April 18, 2014


Do you think that Jack Williams will get the 270 signatures from city residents needed in order to have a referendum placed on a municipal ballot to have the city's pressure test mandate repealed?

I'm not sure
     View Results
Order Photos

Photo Slideshow

House Ads