Video: Business is Sweet on the Lower East Side

by Daniel Mescon and Stav Ziv

A clutch of chocolate eggs at Economy Candy on the Lower East Side.

A clutch of chocolate eggs at Economy Candy on the Lower East Side.


About a year ago, Mitchell Cohen left his job on Wall Street to take over the family business, Economy Candy, a neighborhood icon on Rivington Street.

The store began in 1937 as a shoe and hat repair shop that also sold candy. Eventually, candy drew more business than footwear, and Cohen’s grandfather transitioned to candy full time, which gave birth to Economy Candy.

Cohen says he grew up in the store, helping out on holidays and during vacations. Now that he’s older and taking the reins, he hopes that customers will be transported back to their own childhoods when they walk into the store.

He works to track down old favorites like Necco prodcuts from Boston and carries holiday treats like chocolate bunnies and chocolate-covered matzos.

Not that Cohen only relies on old-fashioned sweets. He says he often receives new candy samples and is willing to try them out on the shelves.

Since he’s started at the store full time, Cohen says he tries to limit himself to one or two pieces of candy per day, but he also needs to know his products.

“You gotta try everything,” he says. “You have to know what everything in the store tastes like if you’re going to recommend it to someone.”