Vanishing America: An Old Fashioned Style Candy Store – Ojai, CA

Kingston’s Candy Company: A Candy Trip Down Memory Lane

Kingston's Candy Co. Interior

If you are ever near Ojai, about 85 miles north of Los Angeles, Kingston’s Candy Co. is worth a visit, even if you don’t crave sweets.

When I first visited Ojai, California around five years ago I kept wanting to pronounce Ojai, “O.J.” as in O.J. Simpson. It is pronounced Oh Hi.

Kingston's Candy Co. ExteriorThe reason for my initial visit to Ojai was Bart’s Books, a unique used book store that is mostly outdoors. Walking along East Ojai Avenue, the main street of Ojai’s small downtown area with its quaint shops and restaurants, you will eventually stumble upon Kingston’s Candy Co..

Walking into Kingston’s you will discover an unpretentious, real candy store, the kind that used to flourish in every neighborhood in every metropolitan city until the 1960’s.

Kingston's Candy Co. Standard CandyThe prices are about on par with supermarkets for the regular candy such as M&M’s, Kit Kat’s, Milky Way’s, and other standard fare. What makes Kingston’s unique is that it has a lot of older candy brands that were popular years ago and you thought might have vanished forever. Confections like Sugar Daddy, Whatchamacallit’s, Coconut Alice’s, Good n’ Plenty, Teaberry, Glee, Hubba Bubba and Gold Mine Chewing Gum, and dozens of other candy’s, gums and sugar based sweets line the small shop.

Kingston's Candy Co. Some Older BrandsThere is of course an enormous selection of chocolate, jelly beans, licorice and other popular favorites. Kingston’s also has fresh handcrafted dipped apples and locally made products.

With the fight against sugar and teen obesity gaining momentum in our nannystate country, it is nice to see that there are stores and people who realize that adults should be responsible for themselves and to guiding their children’s food intake.

Kingston's Candy Co. Soda It is important to let the consumer make the final choice as to what you will purchase. As with anything, if done in moderation, a little candy and soda will not kill you. So it is befitting that Kingston’s has a whole cooler full of bottled soda, regular brands and smaller, unique brands.

Kingston's Candy Co. Bulk BinsThe best part of the store is a mix and match bulk section where you can fill a small ($3.99) or large ($6.99) bag of candy with such standards such as Smarties, Tootsie Rolls, Mary Janes, Life Savers, Bit O’ Honey and Lollipops. And what makes this section even better is that they have a large variety of fantastic fresh salt water taffy with an assortment of about 20 standard and unique flavors such as key lime, caramel apple, lemon meringue and chocolate chip.

A large bag (about 60- 70 pieces) should last you at least two to three months. For the taffy alone, every time in the last five years I have visited California I have made the trek to Kingston’s Candy Co..

Kingston’s Candy Co. in Ojai (307 E. Ojai Ave.) is open Monday – Thursday 11 a.m. – 6 p.m., Friday and Saturday 11 a.m.  – 7 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. – 5:30 p.m..

The “Vanishing America” series is about institutions and establishments that are surviving, even as many of their counterparts are disappearing from the United States.

UPDATE: Summer 2016
As the title of our series suggests, Kingston’s Candy Co. is no more. The store closed in 2016. The nearest similar store is located in Ventura, CA – Rocket Fizz, a chain that carries a wide variety of old fashioned candy and soda.

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