ARCHIVESThe C Shop tradition carries on...

Published on Thu, Jun 28, 2001
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The C Shop tradition carries on...

Thirty years ago on June 26 when the C Shop opened, there were no sandwiches, baked goods or pizza, and many of the delectable candies you’ll find on the C Shop shelves nowadays hadn’t been thought of yet.

From the very first day, however, cotton candy, snowcones, licorice ropes, candy sticks, penny candy and white chocolatehave been available to C Shop customers. By the end of the first week of business, the C Shop was making its own crispy caramel corn and delicious caramel apples and suckers. Even though the caramel on the first batch of apples was a bit chewy, the customers kept returning for candies that were made with the philosophy, “The only substitute for experience is quality.”

This year on Tuesday, June 26, the C Shop celebrated its 30th anniversary. Several of those first year’s products were featured for an hour that day at their original prices.

A peek at C Shop history in photos and scrapbooks will be available throughout the week. The original C Shop whale will be on display along with all his successors.

Special prizes (including an inflatable kayak and a ticket for two to the Boys & Girls Club “Dance on the Dockside”) will be given on Saturday, June 30. Also the C Shop’s traditional anniversary treat, a Peanut Butter Yummmm, will be given away every open hour from June 26 through June 30.

The C Shop was begun originally in 1971 by Pat and Pat Alesse in a corner of Shore Acres Resort. Shore Acres, owned by Barbara and Ernie Jacobs, included their home, a grocery store, a pub, a clothing shop and 30 rental cabins, before it was sold to become the present day Jacob’s Landing Condominiums. The present location of the C Shop is the intersection of Birch Bay Drive and Alderson Road. The original building was on that site by 1898 and was Birch Bay’s first resort business and the site of the first Old Settlers Picnic. The building has been added on to numerous times and has housed a variety of businesses over its lifetime. Expanding to fit the big yellow building, the Alesses have added a sandwich shop and bakery to the original candy store.

Because the C Shop was designed to compliment Patrick’s job as a third grade teacher in Blaine, the C Shop began as a summer only business. In spite of Patrick’s retirement from teaching in 1993 and the growing year round population at Birch Bay, the C Shop is still open “summers only” so Pat and Pat can enjoy a bit of “retirement” in the fall at least. The mid-May opening weekends are harbingers of summer for residents and visitors to Birch Bay. Many eagerly await the mid June through Labor Day daily access to the treats at the C Shop. The teacher influence is easily seen around the C Shop as customers get drawn into the game of figuring out “Why the C Shop is called the C Shop?” (Is it because it is by the sea, because you see the bread and candy being made, because it is the candy shop, because so many things start with “C,” because it is the Alessee shop, or is it because it is a Whale of a place to go? Only a teacher would plan “all of the above” as the correct answer.)

From January to Easter the C Shop is bustling with wholesale production of Easter bunnies which can be found in many stores from Whatcom County to Issaquah and Seattle. The C Shop does open two weekends before Easter for retail sales of their Easter chocolates.

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