After 27 Years, Children’s Clothing and Apparel Shop ‘Candy Nichols’ To Close At Month’s End

After 27 years in downtown New Canaan, the owners of Candy Nichols are closing the shop at the end of this month.

Elizabeth Correa, co-owner of Candy Nichols. Credit: Michael Dinan

Co-owner Elizabeth Correa said high rent and changing habits among shoppers are the chief reason she’s closing the children’s clothing and apparel store.

“Traffic is not the same and people shop differently,” Correa said on a recent morning, referring to online shopping. “That’s just a fact.”

Located on Elm Street for about 20 years, Candy Nichols since 2013 has been at 99 Main St. The store will hold 30 and 50 percent off sales as March progresses, Correa said.

Candy Nichols at 99 Main St. in New Canaan will close at month’s end. Credit: Michael Dinan

She and business partner Anna Carberry in more than a quarter-century have had children as customers who are now grown and shopping for their own kids, according to Correa.

“It’s been an incredible pleasure,” she said. “I love helping people and I love everything about it. I have seen babies and children who are now women coming in with their babies. It’s incredible. And you know I have people who worked for us as teenagers at New Canaan High School and they’re coming in here now with their babies and shopping. So I’ll miss that. I’ll miss the customer service end of it, for sure.”

The children’s clothing market in New Canaan has seen dramatic changes in recent years. The short-lived Ella & Henry closed at the end of 2017, Littlejohn’s across Elm Street had closed the prior summer after 24 years in business and Ralph Lauren Kids shut down in August 2015.

Correa said she plans to work locally in retail, though first she’ll take a break and do something that’s eluded her since a softball standout daughter, Ryan, started her collegiate game at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pa.: See all her games.

“The first thing I’m doing is taking off for the whole season so I don’t miss a game,” Correa said when asked about her plans. “I don’t have any obligations, so I’ll be able to go to every day game.”

Of the store’s closing, she added: “It’s sad but it’s change, sometimes it’s not the end of the world.”

3 thoughts on “After 27 Years, Children’s Clothing and Apparel Shop ‘Candy Nichols’ To Close At Month’s End

  1. I’m so sad to hear this ! All of my favorite outfits when Keiley was little were bought at your store.! More importantly, I loved stopping in to browse and chat with both of you ! Best of luck !😍 Peggy

  2. I am saddened to read this news, but I fear it is a sign of the times we live and work in. At the same time, I congratulate Elizabeth and Anna on a great 27 year run and wish them the best in their new pursuits, especially those fleeting moments when you get to watch your child compete in a sport they love.

    Our downtown business district has been a tremendous ‘incubator’ for locally owned small businesses over the years. New Canaan is home to many long-time businesses now operating in their 2nd or 3rd generation of ownership, including Walter Stewarts, Franco’s Wine Merchants, Hersam-Acorn, Weed & Duryea and Karl Chevrolet.

    For any business to survive the test of time, including multiple economic cycles and transition of ownership, it has to first successfully operate for five, ten, fifteen, and twenty years. Candy Nichols made it 27 years, but now will not be the next New Canaan business to hit the fifty year milestone. Will any current business make it that far?

    Time will tell. The reality of consumer shopping behavior has changed more dramatically in the past 5-10 years than at any time in history. And the pace of that change seems to be accelerating rather than abating.

    As consumers, we need to ask ourselves this question: Is the experience of walking down a local street, browsing shop windows, stopping in to see and touch merchandise, chat with fellow humans, and being able to walk out with a purchase in hand something that we cherish?

    If the answer is YES, we each need to make more of an effort to enjoy this experience more often. We cannot take our local downtown business district for granted and expect that those shops will be there when we need them. The stores along Main and Elm have rent, insurance, taxes and other expenses due each month. They cannot survive if business comes in spurts near major holidays.
    At the same time, business owners need to constantly adapt and evolve. This is no time for business as usual. Collaborative marketing efforts, new merchandise, new levels of customer service, and a vigilant focus on staying one step ahead of the trends. Landlords also need to realize that Amazon is NOT going to come knocking on any doors in New Canaan.

    If the answer is NO, then you need to resign yourself to staring at a computer screen and hoping the color, texture and function of the product you are looking at will be the same when you open the brown box it comes in a day to three later. If the answer is NO, then there won’t be that spontaneous purchase of a new dress or sweater to wear to an event tonight. Nor will there be the opportunity to grab a last minute birthday gift when you forgot to plan ahead.

    This story, and others like it, should be a wake-up call for everyone who loves the character of our downtown.

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