After 13 years in business, Little Neck's neighborhood candy shop will close its doors this summer for good.
Ticker's Nut House, at 249-36 Horace Harding Expressway, has been a community mainstay for chocolates, nuts and extravagant gift baskets for years, but business at the store has slowed in recent years and the owners would like to have some time to themselves.
"It's over, it's time," said Ticker Bashen, who owns and operates the business with her husband John.
Bashen, who grew up in Little Neck, said she did not know much about running a candy store when she opened the business in June 1995, but quickly learned the trade.
And although she has enjoyed working with chocolates and other goodies, she said she will miss her customers the most when the store closes.
Bashen, a garrulous and friendly shopkeeper, remembers what her loyal customers like best and makes sure she has plenty in stock. When they leave her store, she bids them goodbye with a cheerful, "So long, hon."
Queens Village resident John Gorman has been a loyal customer for the past eight years. Gorman always buys dried apples at the store, but said Bashen is the reason he keeps coming back.
And as for where he will go for his dried fruit and candy after Ticker's closes, Gorman said he's "lost."
The store has also left its mark on the people who worked there.
Over the years, Ticker's has employed a number of teenagers from local high schools. Bashen encouraged the students to do well in school and said many of them improved their grades while working at her shop.
And although she never had kids of her own, she refers to her former employees as her children and easily recalls the accomplishments and where they are today.
In recent years, the business climate for her shop and other mom-and-pop stores next door has changed, Bashen said.
Years ago, a rush of people would come in everyday on their way home from work, but that ended after the Douglaston Parkway exit on the Long Island Expressway closed, she said.
And more than four years of construction on a nearby overpass caused parking problems and then the arrival of big stores on the block — a Duane Reade and an Asian market opened nearby — led more customers away, she said.
For the couple, it was a waiting game to see if business would pick up again.
"We really can't afford to wait any longer," she said.
Bashen is thankful for those customers who returned throughout the years.
"At a time, it was very hard to park," she said, "yet everybody came."
After the shop closes its doors for the last time Aug. 31, Bashen plans to travel with her husband.
"We want to take the time now and live," she said. "It's been a great ride."
Reach reporter Katy Gagnon by e-mail at kgagnon@ti
©2008 Community News Group
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