Former Army medic, firefighter opens candy shop

Contributed Candy is displayed at Minty's Candies & Treats, 33 South Broad St., Norwich.

After decades in public safety, Norwich native Tracy Chawgo’s life is taking a sweet turn.

Together with wife, Mindy, 43, also a Norwich native, Chawgo launched Minty’s Candies & Treats at 33 South Broad St., Norwich earlier this month.

“We both grew up in the area and I left after graduation to enroll in the military. When I got out, I started a career as a flight medic in the Army,” Chawgo, 56, said, saying he continues working one day a week as a paramedic. “Then I got involved in the Norwich Fire Department and did 30 years in public safety, 10 as chief, but I always wanted to have my own business.

“Mindy’s very involved in the area and has been for years,” he said, “and when we saw the storefront, we decided we should open a candy store.”

With 36 wall-mounted bulk candy dispensers and nickel, dime and quarter candy, Chawgo said, Minty’s is meant to be nostalgic, while also offering current confections.

“We remembered that ,years ago in Norwich, there was an old-fashioned candy store called the Copper Kettle,” he said, “and it was our vision to have something like that.

“We also offer Chocolate Pizza (Company) products,” he said. “Those come from the Syracuse area, but the lady who started the company is originally from the Norwich area, and we’re the only ones selling those outside of Syracuse. We have actual pizza boxes with chocolate pizzas, peanut butter ‘wings,’ which are potato chips covered with chocolate and peanut butter and pizza by the slice.”

The shop, Chawgo said, flanks the Colonia Theatre, with corresponding hours, making it a convenient stop for sweet-seeking moviegoers. Minty’s also offers custom corporate, birthday and holiday-themed baskets, with local delivery. And because they use several distributors, Chawgo said, special requests are welcome.

After receiving the keys to the property in December, Chawgo said, he and Mindy concealed their confections, with a goal of opening before Valentine’s Day.

“This is a total off-the-wall thing and we kept it a secret,” he said. “We put brown paper on the windows … and when we opened, people were like, ‘Oh, my god.’”

Now with the candy out of the bag, Chawgo said, community members young and old are satisfying their sweet tooth.

“When you put your first order in for candy, it’s hard to know what people are going to like,” he said. “I think we hit the nail on head, because everything has sold … and we’re always looking for ideas on products.

“So far it’s been everybody,” he continued. “We’ve had people from Sherburne, New Berlin, Greene and all over the place coming in to check it out. It’s such a new thing and it’s different, so everybody’s excited about it and everybody knows me from the fire service and everybody knows my wife, so that’s been a plus.” Mindy, he said, is an office manager in Norwich.

Chawgo said he and Mindy plan to grow their confection collection.

“We want to see how this goes and we’ll expand as the community allows or requests or pushes us to,” he said. “But we want it to be the talk of town, whether you buy stuff or not. It’s just kind of fun to see people’s faces when they come in.”

Minty’s is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, and noon to 7 Thursday through Saturday.

For more information, find “Minty’s Candies & Treats” on Facebook, follow @mintyscandies on Instagram or visit mintyscandies.com, coming in early March.

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