I have many fond memories of my childhood in Wahiawa. One of the most cherished is of the little candy store down the street called B-Sweet. Growing up, sweets were in short supply in our house, so Dad and I would walk down the street to B-Sweet for ice cream when I was behaving myself and deserving of a special treat. Later when I started school, I would visit the shop every afternoon to buy snacks: Coke in the glass bottles, M&M’s, ring pops, funyuns, haw flakes, crack seed, or pop rocks to keep me wired enough to make it through my 3rd bell class at Japanese School.
Bill Sugimoto, the candy man with the kind face and generous spirit, would always tease and joke with me as I made my daily purchase. For reasons that will now forever be unknown to me, he would call me “Jonesy,” even though he knew my real name. In the early days, before he passed on, I recall Bill’s elderly father sitting outside on a rickety folding chair, watching as kids would come and go from the store that he founded in the late 1950’s.
I wish I had visited Bill before he passed away on June 14. According to the article, he collapsed into a customer’s arms while he was working at the store. Despite his age, 85, he was still dedicated to running the store for the children in the area and did so until the very end of his life.
The closing of B-Sweet marks the end of an era and I will always look back upon those daily after-school visits to Mr. Bill with fond remembrance.
Rest in peace, Bill.