The best vintage candy store sign in New York

It all started with William and Anna Loft, English immigrants who came to New York in the 1850s and opened a small candy store on Canal Street a decade later that sold homemade chocolates.

By the 1920s, Loft’s was the biggest candy retailer in the nation, with 75 stores (including this one below on Flatbush Avenue in Park Slope, circa 1959), according to Savoring Gotham: A Food Lover’s Companion to New York City.

Loft’s opened a candy factory in Long Island City in the 20th century—see the ad in the “female wanted” section of the Brooklyn Eagle in the wartime year of 1944.

Not a lot of men were around to do the wrapping, dipping, and stroking. I wonder what the pay was like.

After a series of missteps and mergers, the last Loft’s store closed up shop in 1990.

But the store sign at 88 Nassau Street downtown lives on—it’s a cut above Manhattan’s next best candy store sign at Economy Candy.

[Second Photo: the Park Slopian; Third Image: Brooklyn Eagle 1944]

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23 Responses to “The best vintage candy store sign in New York”

  1. Ty Says:

    The stroking part concerns me. I’m calling HR.

  2. Audrey Burtrum-Stanley Says:

    You’ve shown so mannnnny terrific signs from ‘long gone NYC businesses,’ I wish the historians of the city had a program — like the ROUTE 66 folks have come to recognize — people have become very attached to these landmark designs. Today, there is a movement from Chicago to LA to save and restore the vintage signs. They are commercial advertising but they were guideposts to exciting places where memories abound. They are also designs showing different art styles of the period. Some Rt66 signs have been gathered for display in a couple of park collections. Amazingly, even more have been kept at the origional site (with the new business adding their name during restoration or their own signage nearby.) Large, metal signs – with beautiful neon or exterior lighting – are very costly to reproduce; the modern day signs taking their places, are mostly plastic with interior lighting. Too many of these big flashing, twinkling, glowing lights with names and movement and giving direction or information seem to be headed to a recycle smelter and that is a loss of ‘yesteryears’ that should not happen to those who love NYC.

  3. ephemeralnewyork Says:

    I agree Audrey—and so do other folks here in NYC as well. But so far, I’m not aware of any movement to preserve these iconic 20th century store signs that continue to charm passersby.

  4. Judy Says:

    Lucy and Ethel?

  5. Audrey Burtrum-Stanley Says:

    Fantastic — the mention of the duo’s names makes me smile thinking of the conveyor line of chocolates. Judy gets ’10 points’ for a Perfect Comment!

    Considering today’s political and Hollywood headlines, I too join Ty in the looming question. What the heck is candy STROKING?

    • Zoé Says:

      That gave me pause also Audrey – when I read Ty’s comment. (Stroking). However I am commenting after yours because I don’t want to *encourage* Ty. (Remembering another comment of his which was *supposedly* accidental… & Ephemeral really believes in free speech!).

    • Zoé Says:

      Audrey & everyone:

      I am guessing “stroking” is brushing chocolate *over* another candy? (That’s my best shot).

      Ephemeral – please end our misery (if you have this cryptic knowledge).

      Lol – now I am really hungry for a box of chocolate w/ the creme fondant & caramel centers.

      • Ty Says:

        My lawyers tell me to say that i deeply regret any offense taken by my comments which were altered without my express permission by (Apple Inc. re: autocorrect)

      • Zoé Says:

        I’ve forgotten your exact words Ty. I only remember that you said them 🙂

        The internet is *forever* though. (Except when it’s not – but then there is the Wayback Machine…).

      • Zoé Says:

        … of course I meant what “autocorrect” *said* Ty

      • Ty Says:

        Well then, Nolo Contendere, Ipso Facto, E Pluribus Unum and whatever other Latin I can throw at you.

      • Zoé Says:

        Lol – our Ephemeral comments crossed. That must be good luck – like speaking at the exact same time.

  6. lisaakalisa Says:

    According to ‘Industry Wage Survey: Candy and Other Confectionery Products’ (August 1975), a “stroker” is the enrobing machine operator’s helper. Also known as a “Separator”, “Slider”, Streaker”, “Stringer”.

    Must I explain EVERYTHING to you greenhorns?

    • Zoé Says:

      I guessed right. Sort of as I said ‘brushing’ & not ‘enrobing’. That’s what I meant though! Lol.

      I read your comment after my guess lisaakalisa. (Does your screen name mean Lisa also known as Lisa? Or is your last name Akalisa? If the former it is funny & brilliant. If the latter it’s a pretty name).

      Still hungry for chocolate now…

  7. Audrey Burtrum-Stanley Says:


    “ENROBING” — we GREENHORNS thought it pertained to
    “DISROBING” — as in that oft heard phrase:

    “Pssst…Want some CANDY, Lil girl?”

  8. Audrey Burtrum-Stanley Says:

    We realy ought to get down to the ‘Sticky Fingers’ discussion of quality chocolates, which this company obviously provided the citizens of NYC.

    Do you prefer chocolate covered pecans, whole almonds or peanuts?

    Are you one of the folks who swab your chin after down’n the messy but delicious chocolate covered cherries?

    Perhaps you like the stuff that sticks your teeth together with a heavy-duty caramel.

    Are you a marshmellow creame fan?

    Did you ever grind your fingrnail in the bottom of a Valentine’s Day heart-shaped box of chocolates…just clipping out a bit of the chocolate’s back-side so you could check the filling before committing the entire chocolate in your mouth? (You know this is cheating – who can tell since the damage is on the bottom of the candy!)

    Fess up…you got a favorite?

    Can you eat ONE piece and then stop?

    Do you like chocolates FROZEN in the deep freeze or hot and gooey on a summer’s afternoon?

    ‘Chocolate candy and eat’n it’ is a serious discussion…These LOFT Candy Shops were allllllllllllllllllllllll over the city, so there should be plenty of CANDY CONFESSIONS. Come on, conefess…share your delicious memories ‘n favorites…. burrrrp!

  9. Adrian Lesher Says:

    There was a similar sign uncovered on Jay Street in downtown Brooklyn for a bit.

  10. Zoé Says:

    Does anyone know the address in Park Slope. (In photo above). I don’t remember an old sign. (I lived there for awhile). Which Avenue? Most of those sort of shops were on 5th Ave.

    … Now I am hungry for Mr.Falafel (restaurant there).

  11. David H Lippman Says:

    Wonderful sign.

  12. Sharon Says:

    My mom worked at the Soda Fountain of Loft’s Candies in NJ and got promoted to the Window display person – I believe she told me that Mrs. Loft trained her.

  13. A downtown neon candy store sign is falling apart | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] sign is in worse shape since I captured it in a photo in 2017 (at left). And while I don’t know when the store closed, it didn’t occupy this space […]

  14. Karen Chapman Says:

    My grandmother retired as a manager at Lofts Candy.

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