Nostalgic America

Featured Article, Food, Traditions
on September 30, 2013

At Honey’s Vintage Sweets in historic downtown Franklin, Tenn., (pop. 62,487) memories are created and re-lived by customers captivated by the timeless appeal of nostalgic candy, vintage sodas and classic toys.

The family-owned candy and ice cream shop takes pride in providing customers with sweet reminders of ‘the good ole days’; a recent trend among businesses hoping to satisfy America’s fascination for nostalgic items.

Several companies have recently gone retro by dusting off decade’s worth of brand artwork from the archives. Hasbro and General Mills released retro packaging for its vintage games and classic cereals at Target stores earlier this year. Proctor & Gamble did the same with Tide, Downy and Bounce, as well as Pepsi and Mountain Drew who started producing “throwback” versions of their canned drinks in 2009.

So what is it that makes consumers crave these vintage products? For Sara Thomas, store manager and buyer at Honey’s Vintage Sweets, the answer is sweet and simple.

“I think people associate complex memories and moments with simple items,” Thomas said. “Our customers experience happiness, awe, nostalgia, and in most instances, the desire to share their special memories with others.”

In addition to nostalgic memories, the association of vintage with quality is also influencing companies to re-establish its initial values and standards. According to Thomas, several candy manufacturers, keen on preserving their legacy, have gone back to using their original recipe. Valomilk Candy Cups, Bonomo Turkish Taffy, and Leaf Brand are among the many who seek to perfect their products so they taste and look like the originals.

But vintage is more than just the attention to quality and design detail. While vintage products help us walk down memory lane, for Thomas the magic of nostalgia produces more than sweet memories; it creates new ones.

“[The staff at Honey’s Vintage Sweets] gets to watch memories in the making, like a parent sharing the magic of Pop Rocks and Coca Cola, or our regulars, both children and adults, who walk in with their candy money every week re-living a moment so many of us experienced as children, or the couples, young and old, who come in to share a milkshake and a vintage soda,” Thomas said. “I watch their faces, and imagine the stories they will share with their loved ones one day, and I hope that Honey’s is still the place they can come to share those memories.”

Be sure to read Honey’s Vintage Sweets’ list of top vintage products in our “Nostalgic America” slideshows.