CAMDEN — The sound is unmistakably that of children.

Booted feet tromp on stairs in an uneven rhythm accompanied by high-pitched giggles. Someone trips, bangs a knee, starts crying.

At the top of those stairs, Matt Sutton’s face cracks into a muted smile. Where some store owners or parents or adults in general might be annoyed by the mayhem speeding toward them, he hears only the sound of youth, and clearly it is a welcome one.

Faces brighten when they see the candy on display at Uncle Willy’s on Bay View Street. Photo by Daniel Dunkle

We are standing on the second floor of Uncle Willy’s Candy Shoppe at 57 Bay View St. The kids who come rushing up are on spring break, visiting from Dallas, Texas.

An assortment of jelly beans are on display at Uncle Willy’s in Camden. Photo by Daniel Dunkle

They head for displays of colorful candy packages, oohing, ah-ing and laughing. Even the one with the banged knee is soon engrossed in the search for the perfect sweet treasure.

Uncle Willy’s has done steady business attracting both visitors from away and local regulars since it opened in 2015. Here you will find just about everything.

Caila Keber, 24, a daughter of the owners, has worked at Uncle Willy’s since she was 14. The store started in Houlton before coming to Camden in 2015. Photo by Daniel Dunkle

The glass case offers fancy chocolates, fudge made on the premises in a variety of flavors and at least three kinds of brittle. There are entire displays devoted to oversized lollipops. Penny candies fondly remembered from lost days ranging from root beer barrels to Atomic Fireballs are sold not far from a large selection of Pez Dispensers and barrels of salt water taffy.

You can add to that chocolate bunnies for Easter, again, made by the staff, and a massive selection of Jelly Belly jelly beans. You can buy as many of any flavor as you want or mix and match. One can even fill a bag with popcorn-flavored jelly beans for movie night.

Uncle Willy’s in Camden is a swirl of colors and confections. Photo by Daniel Dunkle

Matt’s wife, Karen Sutton, started the business, first as a store in Houlton. She named it Uncle Willy’s after her late first husband Wilhelm. Since some of the nieces and nephews could not say Wilhelm, they called him Uncle Willy.

Matt was a border patrol officer up north. After he retired and they married, he started working in the candy shoppe.

One weekend they visited Camden and wondered why such a pretty little town did not have its own candy store and in a moment of “inspired lunacy” they bought the building on Bay View and brought the business here.

Matt Sutton, co-owner of Uncle Willy’s in Camden. Photo by Daniel Dunkle

Between the two Suttons they have six children, all grown. The kids started working in the candy store while they were still in school. Britney and Caila Keber are still there, waiting on customers.

Another distinctive feature is the music. Walking in you may hear the soundtrack of a Disney classic or some old song from the 20th century. The owners look for family friendly tunes that tap into that sense of nostalgia that goes along with an old fashioned candy store.

The Willy’s experience seems to be about more than candy.

Customers tell him stories. One elderly woman recalls walking through the woods with her grandmother to a general store where she was treated to a dime’s worth of penny candies in a paper bag.

Matt said he enjoys talking to people and letting them relate such dear memories.

Decisions, decisions. A child looks at all the options at Uncle Willy’s in Camden. Photo by Daniel Dunkle

Of course waiting on customers is different than working in law enforcement at the Canadian border. He said he literally was working with the patrol one day and the candy store the next, and his wife came to him and said, “Smile.” He said, “I am.”

He also relates the story of a family that visited the shoppe — Dad, Mom, kids. At first, Dad stands by the door tapping his foot with impatience, arms folded. Then he looks around. Then he starts walking around, examining the items. By the end of the visit, Mom and the kids are waiting on him.

Like the dad in the story, this place has helped Matt find his smile.

Karen Sutton and her team make all of the chocolates at Uncle Willy’s in Camden, including these Easter Bunnies. Photo by Daniel Dunkle

Specialty items are available at Uncle Willy’s. They include sugar eggs and a hollow gnome that when struck with the included mallet offers up wrapped treats. Photo by Daniel Dunkle

As Violet Beauregarde observed: “So long’s it gum then that’s for me.” Photo by Daniel Dunkle

Colorful displays abound at Uncle Willy’s in Camden. Photo by Daniel Dunkle

Uncle Willy’s Candy Shoppe is located at 57 Bay View St. in Camden. Photo by Daniel Dunkle

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