Economy Candy offers three generations of proof that sweets and love go together

Skye and Mitchell Cohen are the third generation of husband-wife owners of Economy Candy on the Lower East Side.
Skye and Mitchell Cohen are the third generation of husband-wife owners of Economy Candy on the Lower East Side. Photo Credit: Emmanuel Dunand

A guy takes you to a candy store on your first date. You think:

A) Wow, I want to work there one day.

B) He’s really cute and meeting his parents on our first date is pretty cool.

C) Wow, I’d really love a chocolate bunny right now.

D) All the above.

Well, the answer was D. In fact it was love at first bite for Skye and Mitchell Cohen, the third generation of husband-wife owners of Economy Candy, a New York City candy and chocolate mecca that’s been supplying Valentine’s Day surprises since 1937.

Mitchell Cohen, 32, met his wife Skye, 28, the old fashioned way: They were set up by a grandmother. Skye baby-sat a boy whose grandma lived across the street from Mitchell’s mother. Nana made the introductions.

Their first date started with brunch at a Lower East Side hole-in-the-wall, followed by the ol’ “want to come back to my candy store” routine.

“When Mitchell suggested we go to the store on our first date, I don’t think I was immediately aware that his parents would be there,” Skye recalled. “My first thoughts were along the lines of ‘He’s trying to impress me … and it’s working!’”

He said I could have anything I wanted. I wanted a chocolate bunny, which are very scarce in October.”

Being a third-generation candy man, it seems, has its perks. For their second date, Mitchell showed up with a giant chocolate rabbit.

Open the door to Economy Candy, a mainstay on Rivington Street for more than 80 years, and you open a time portal to your childhood. It has Candy Dots — the little sugar dots on paper — and the wax bottles with colored sugar water, known as Nik-L-Nips.

There’s halvah and Joyva jelly rings, two large window-front displays stocked with Tootsie Rolls, Bit-O-Honeys, root beer barrels, Bazooka gum and all your favorite fun-size Hershey products at $3.99 a pound.

And while people routinely make the pilgrimage to stock up on the more than 2,000 varieties of memories, Valentine’s Day is one of the biggest days for candy, chocolates and sweets.

“If you show up empty-handed, you’re in trouble,” Mitchell said. “You have to have sweets for your sweet. ”