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Economy forces Powell’s to shut down candy shop

Life in the Village of La Jolla proved not so sweet for Powell’s Sweet Shoppe, which has closed its doors because of high rents, low tourist trade and a depressed economy just 15 months after opening.

“Powell’s is closed - we’re not opening another location in La Jolla,” said Michael Powell, founder/

franchiser of Powell’s Sweet Shoppe, which was started in Windsor north of San Francisco and has 18 franchises in California, Colorado, Oregon and Idaho featuring 4,000 types of candy. The La Jolla store was at 1000 Prospect St. next to the Living Room.

“It was a combination of high rents and low foot traffic, and that’s nobody’s fault except the general economy,” Powell said. “Once we’re there, we become a destination - but we need for tourists to come.”

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Melissa Gilleon, a 33-year La Jolla resident, opened Powell’s in La Jolla with its 1,500-square-foot store featuring a gelato counter reminiscent of an old-fashioned soda fountain on June 11, 2008. The store closed Sept. 6, 2009.

Powell said he appreciated the opportunity to open his candy shop in La Jolla but cited a combination of factors for why the business arrangement didn’t work out.

“Prospect does have quite a lot of loyal, local traffic,” he said. “But for our store’s location, tourists were essential, and not enough of them were traveling this year to really be able to support the level of expense that that street requires.”

Kent Horner of Kent Horner Photography at Lila Jolla Studios at 1002 Prospect St., above Powell’s, said business has been down, especially tourist trade, this year during the recession.

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“It was overhead and economic challenges in the Village,” said Horner of Powell’s demise.

“There is no positive marketing for the Village. Powell’s is an unfortunate outcome of the economy and lack of promotion to bring tourists to the Village this summer.”