Doug Nelson opened up his sweet store on Main Street in Wilton in 1994, hoping to discover a quieter place than his earlier venue to ply his craft of sweet-making, in accordance with Dick Putnam.
“Little did he know what was to come,” wrote Putnam, who owned Putnam’s Clothing retailer on Main Street earlier than his retirement.
Nelson died on July 7, and the Wilton group has come collectively to specific how a lot he shall be missed.
“This guy created probably, besides the theater, the anchor attraction in Wilton,” mentioned Jennifer Beck, Chair of Wilton’s financial growth crew. “People who were visitors and tourists who were passing through came to Wilton just to go to the candy store.”
“He was a gruff guy, but he had a heart of gold,” mentioned Kermit Williams, member of the city Select Board.
Nelson opened the store in 1994 and spent many seasons dedicating himself to the artwork of constructing sweet, particularly vacation-themed candies. Many from the city fondly recall him making big Christmas sweet canes come December – an endeavor that Putnam mentioned was a crew effort, usually requiring the assistance of buddies and neighbors.
“It’s tradition,” Nelson mentioned of the lengthy and concerned course of one 12 months, “so we’ve got to make candy canes at Christmas.”
Nelson bought the enterprise to Nancy Feraco in 2019 , and the store continued to thrive. When the hand-off occurred, Nelson selected to not retire fairly but, however to remain and assist prepare the brand new sweet-makers. He mentioned on the time that he had confidence in Feraco and the way forward for the shop, due to her dedication and fervour.
“I could see she was really interested in it,” mentioned Nelson in 2019. “There’s a lot of processes. We had to fix all these things and do all this paperwork. She never gave up.”
Beck mentioned that Nelson had acquired different provides from patrons who had been planning to maneuver the enterprise, however he refused to promote to somebody who would uproot the sweet retailer.
“Doug, thank you for keeping the candy shop in town,” Beck mentioned, “because it’s been a catalyst for a lot of other stuff. People have discovered Wilton’s Main Street, and Doug was a big part of why that happened.”
Feraco wrote a tribute to Nelson on Facebook, remembering Nelson’s impression and his steerage as he handed over the reins to his store.
“Doug served as a teacher, confident, and cheerleader for the new group of candy-makers at Nelson’s,” Feraco wrote.
“More than a mentor, he was a loyal and loving friend,” she added. “He lit up the candy kitchen with energy and laughter the second he arrived.”
In addition to being a sweet-maker, Nelson was additionally a musician. He opened Local’s Cafe, which drew bands from throughout New England, and was a member of the Sweet Tooth Band.
“Maybe aside from his family, his real love was not just sugar, it was blues,” Beck mentioned.
“He truly made a lasting mark on our business district that will be honored and remembered for generations to come,” Putnam wrote on his private weblog. “May he keep playing and sweetening the universe for all time.”
“He will be missed for a long, long time,” mentioned Beck, “but he was a legend in his own time.”
“Doug’s passing leaves a large hole in our hearts and in the hearts of many others in our community,” Feraco wrote. “ ‘What would Doug do?’ is a constant mantra here at Nelson’s Candy, and that will not be changing anytime soon.”