Chinatown Gets A Little Sweeter with . . . IT’SUGAR!
Last week, Chinatown welcomed a new retailer to its bustling main strip along 7th street, NW. The colorful new shop, IT’SUGAR, specializes in candy and novelty items, from packs of decade-specific candy (see picture below) to 5 lb giant gummy bears to bacon-flavored lip balm. There is a lot to look at, so if you stop by, prepare to get sucked in!
Whoever designed this shop is a genius at drawing people in and keeping them there. Multi-colored walls and floors, fun and upbeat music, and that classic candy shop smell work together to act like a bug zapper light for passers-by. Once you walk in, it’s not just the variety of unusual novelty items that keeps you intrigued- it’s an unexpected feeling of nostalgia… for candy. Remember that sweet you loved when you were five and haven’t seen in 30 years? They have it. We were enticed by an Oh Henry! bar, Sixlets, and one treat we had never seen before, Valomilk (sounds like it belongs next to the Ovaltine). But whatever catches your eye, you will be sorely tempted to buy it, despite the fact that it costs more than a cocktail.
That was our biggest complaint about IT’SUGAR- we know their rent must be high, but holy prices! Like you’d expect, the store features bins of a huge variety of candies. You can scoop your selection into a cute, Chinese take-out style box (left picture), and then proceed to the register, where you will pay about three times what you’d expect for it. Even for locals used to exorbitant DC prices, we had some serious sticker shock.
We were also a bit taken aback with all the zany non-candy merchandise in the store, especially the giant unicorn head mounted to the wall. How this relates to candy, we don’t know. We also can’t figure out why all the pictures in the store are of women eating candy provocatively. Apparently when they say “sex sells,” they even mean skittles.
So what’s our take on IT’SUGAR? Stop by! It’s worth the trip down memory lane for your taste buds. Just be prepared to spend some serious time there, and bring smelling salts for when the prices make you hit the floor.