WRBA to honor sweets purveyor Margie Schmidt
by Ed Wendell
Sep 16, 2014 | 5729 views | 0 0 comments | 93 93 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Schmidt's in a photo circa 1940.
Schmidt's in a photo circa 1940.
Imagine a resident of Woodhaven from the 1920s who steps into a time machine and winds up in 2014. Our time traveler may stagger around our community, stunned by how much the Woodhaven he knew and loved had changed in 90 years.

But suddenly, our time traveler’s eyes spot a very familiar and beloved sign, looking very much as it did when he left the 1920s: Schmidt’s Candies. Our time traveler steps inside and is transported back to his own familiar time and place.

The display case, the scales, and the décor are all very familiar to our time traveler. And all of the sweets – hand-crafted chocolates, caramels, vanilla crèmes, fudge, and rows of jars containing old-fashioned items such as Malted Milk Balls, Lollipops, and other hard candies – look every bit as delicious as they did way back when.

Well, you might not be a time traveler, but you’ll certainly feel like one when you walk through the door of Schmidt’s Candies at 94-15 Jamaica Avenue. And inside you’ll be greeted by Margie Schmidt, who is being honored this year as our community’s Woman of the Year by the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association.

Schmidt has not only kept the interior of Schmidt’s Candies the same as it was when it was opened by her grandfather in the mid-1920s, but the candies themselves are exactly the same.

“The recipes, the ingredients, the way everything’s made hasn’t changed a bit,” Schmidt says. “It’s the way I was taught to make everything when I was a kid growing up around the store.”

Sure enough, a lifelong resident of Woodhaven, Margie has been connected to her family’s business, and to our community, for her entire life. While much of everything around all of us has changed rapidly over the years, she is very much aware of the comfort and the magic of the old days that Schmidt’s Candies provides.

“You see someone walk in the door, they look around and see the way things were way back when, and they smile,” she says. “That’s a great feeling.”

Schmidt’s has been featured on several television shows over the years, most recently on “New York Originals,” the show that profiles businesses with prominent places in New York’s rich and interesting history.

Woodhaven was honored to have three such businesses profiled on the Emmy-award winning program, with Manor Delicatessen and Neir’s Tavern being the others.

Traditionally closed for the summer, Schmidt’s Candies reopens this week as it has every September since 1925. Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentine’s Day and Easter follow in rapid succession, all big business holidays for Schmidt’s.

“Once we reopen, I’ll be in here 12, 14 hours a day,” Schmidt says, smiling.

Apart from her long hours spent at the shop, Margie also serves on the Board of Directors at the same school she went to, St. Thomas the Apostle, now known as STA Catholic Academy.

Former residents of Woodhaven can get a taste of the old days by purchasing candies online. They can also email margie@schmidtscandy.com or call (718) 846-9326.

The celebration honoring Schmidt kicks off at 7 p.m. on Friday, October 10, at Roma View on Cross Bay Boulevard. Schmidt will be honored alongside our Man of the Year historian Allan Smith, Business of the Year The Avenue Diner, and this year’s entry into our Hall of Fame, Lewis’ of Woodhaven.

It’s going to be a great evening with a delicious buffet dinner and free beer, wine and soda. There will be raffle prizes including a special raffle of a large painting of Lewis’ of Woodhaven, donated by the artist herself, Madeline Lovallo.

Tickets to the Woodhaven fundraiser are $65 per person and can be purchased online here or here. You can also call the WRBA at (718) 296-3735.

All proceeds from the fundraiser goes to the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association to assist their ongoing efforts to make our community a better place to live.
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