A Candy Shoppe is Born

Dick Rudisill was not cut out for a typical retirement. After a career working in the food and grocery industry in New York, the Syracuse native and his wife, Cindy, moved down South with dreams of soaking in the free and easy ways of a work-free life. While visiting their vacation home in Hilton Head, they drove through Aiken on a whim. They were looking to build a new home and fell completely in love with the town and its people. After moving their life to the quaint town, they settled into retirement. Dick spent hours on the links, consumed every novel of interest to him at the library, and traveled as much as he wanted. Still, he soon found himself feeling unfulfilled.

As he grappled with the need for a new project, a long-held dream began to spark again in the back of his mind. Back in Syracuse, the Rudisills often held parties and gatherings for friends and family. Invariably, the crowd would congregate in their basement, which was decorated with antique advertising reminiscent of an old country store. Time and again, guests would comment on how the surroundings reminded them of being a kid in a penny candy store, and Dick reveled in the ability to bring such nostalgia to his loved ones. One day, he shared his idea with Cindy: If they could find the right location, he’d love to open an old-time candy store. Though Cindy initially brushed the idea off as Dick being “absolutely nuts,” she helped her husband realize his dream – she found the perfect space in downtown Aiken and let him know it was available. Dick loved the location – the hardwood floors, the classic windows – and was completely sold.

Dick did his homework. He observed customer buying habits in the bulk candy aisle of a grocery store, acquired a list of the top bulk candy sellers, and tracked industry trends. Once the store opened, it was a mecca for anyone with a sweet tooth.

The couple chose the name “Cyndi’s Sweet Shoppe” for their little store, combining the first three letters of Cindy’s proper name, Cynthia, and the first two letters of Dick’s. Cindy, who had been working in the medical field, found her fit working in the areas heavy in customer service: she assists with gifting ideas and packaging, wedding and party favors, and the general running of the store. Dick felt comfortable doing what he does best: buying stock and managing inventory.Dick has since retired – again – and now enjoys a slower pace while Cindy runs the candy store. As the owner of the only old-fashioned candy store in Augusta’s River Region, Cindy sees a responsibility to her customers to provide an exciting, unique, nostalgic experience with impeccable customer service.