HALLOWELL — Like most candy stores, Scrummy Afters is light, bright and full of stripes, dots and colors.
Underlying the cheer, however, is a hint of something darker and stranger.
Hilary Davis, who opened the store last week with her mother, Kim Davis, said she was going for a Bristish-tinged “dark whimsy” in the concept and design of the Water Street store.
First there’s the name, which combines a shortened form of scrumptious with a British term for dessert. Black top hats and bowlers serve as shades for the lights above the counter.
The inspiration Hilary Davis took from Tim Burton and Dr. Seuss is evident in the black-and-white striped aprons she and her mother wear, the swirling, pink-and-green curlicues decorating the store and a wooden, off-kilter lollipop cake filled with taffy.
The store’s inventory reflects the mix of quaint and offbeat. There are the contemporary favorites available at any drug store or movie theater, plus some treats for the nostalgic, such as candy cigarettes, wax bottles, clove gum and Pop Rocks.
Scrummy Afters also carries Monica’s Chocolates from Lubec, and will make candy bouquets for holidays and custom orders.
Kim Davis, who has worked as an interior designer and for a family tax preparation business, first thought of opening a candy store a few years ago. Candy seems recession-proof, she said.
Hilary Davis recently returned from waiting tables and tending bar in New York City to put her art school training to use in combination with her mother’s head for business. Scrummy Afters is a creative project for her and, she hopes, something fun for customers.
“Of course, people can always get inexpensive candy at convenience stores, but what I wanted, even if the candy was a couple cents more, was an experience,” Davis said. “Almost like the candy was a parting gift. I wanted it to be an escape from reality, I guess.”
Many people are likely to end up at Scrummy Afters the way that John and Mary Beth Stanek, of Peterborough, N.H., did on Friday, when their grandsons wanted to stop at the store after lunch.
“We were very good at Liberal Cup, so we got to have a treat,” said 6-year-old Evan Flynn, of Bowdoinham.
Evan and his 3-year-old brother, Marshall, left the store with Pez dispensers featuring the heads of Sleeping Beauty and Darth Maul. John Stanek chose a New England classic, Necco wafers.
Susan Austin, of Augusta, and Loretta Cardali, of Farmingdale, said they had eagerly anticipated the opening of Scrummy Afters and think it’s a nice addition to Water Street.
When they left the store Friday, they took only a couple of steps before asking each other “Shall we?” and opening two of the chocolate-and-caramel confections that Monica’s calls sea urchins.
“When we’re together, this is one of the things we always indulge in, chocolate,” Austin said. “It’s a ritual.”
Susan McMillan — 621-5645