SIOUX CITY | Betty Farmer is like a kid in a candy store ... literally.
A sales associate at Palmer's Olde Tyme Candy Shoppe, she sells the same candies she enjoyed as a child.
"I used to love the candy necklaces, the Sugar Babies, even the Necco wafers," Farmer said while surveying her sweet stock. "Boy, this takes me back."
It's true that the popular candy store sells trendier treats but Farmer said many of her customers prefer the tried and true.
"Just today, I had a customer come in and say she didn't think a particular candy was still be made," Farmer noted. "Then she saw it on our shelves."
Candy is big business -- approximately $32 billion in 2012 -- according to the National Confectioners Association.
This statistic doesn't surprise Palmer's Olde Tyme Candy Shoppe manager Jon Sadler, who calls candy "an affordable luxury."
"It doesn't matter what the economy looks like," he explained. "People don't mind treating themselves with something sweet."
Luckily, many candies still boast familiar names, Sadler said.
For instance, the original Hershey's chocolate bar was first manufactured in 1900 and M&M candy became available in 1941. Indeed, Palmer's own candy mainstay, the Bing, began in 1923.
Yet it's the lesser-known candies that bring back the fondest memories.
"I grew up on Razzles (which originated in 1966)," Sadler said, holding up a blue bag that says "First it's a candy, then it's a gum. Little round Razzles are so much fun."
"But I also like Nik-L-Nips (first introduced at the turn of the 20th century)," he continued, looking at a package which contained colorful, sugary liquid inside an edible waxy bottle. "They were messy but good."
Such "retro" candies can bring back memories of childhood, Sadler said.
That's a sentiment shared by Michael Keller, president and CEO of the St. Paul, Minn.-based Pearson Candy Company, the manufacturers of such old iconic candies as the Nut Goodie (first started in 1912) and Pearson's Salted Nut Rolls (manufactured since 1933).
"People who like Nut Goodie have liked it for years," Keller told the Journal in July. "They continue to like it so much that they want to share it with a younger generation."
Indeed, Sadler said many people will purchase seminal candies for their children or grandchildren.
"Guess they want to pass down happy family memories whenever they feel nostalgic," he continued.
This is even true with relatively newer candies like Pop Rocks -- a carbonated candy that fizzes in your mouth, created in 1977 -- or ZotZ -- a hard candy with a fizzy sour center that was manufactured in 1968.
"As soon as you taste a candy you enjoyed as a kid, it's like reliving your childhood," Farmer noted. "No matter how old you are, candy has a way of making you feel young again."