Texas candy store provides sweet relief in sour economy

Cindy Bean looked at barrel after barrel filled to the top with candy, searching for just one thing: Hot Tamales.

With a grin, the 56-year-old said chewing the spicy candy is her not-so-secret addiction, a way to help her deal with the stresses of everyday life.

"I used to worry about the sugar and weight gain," said Bean, who lives in Sherman and recently visited the Candy Barrel in the Fort Worth Stockyards. "But with everything going on in the world, there are some things in life that give me joy. I get a lot of relaxation eating Hot Tamales."

As the recession labors on – with rising unemployment and home foreclosures, bank instability and a leery stock market – many are finding at least a temporary relief in candy. Maybe it's the sugar rush; maybe it's a reminder of childhood and easier times.

Either way, some candy stores say they aren't losing business as they feared they would. Some are even having a hard time keeping certain items in stock.

At the Candy Barrel, workers were stocking barrels holding "nostalgic candy" – including the Chic-O-Sticks, Mary Janes, Tootsie Rolls, Pixy Stix, Bit-O-Honeys and Necco Wafers many adults grew up eating.

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