Gate Metropolis Sweet Firm in downtown Greensboro is closing
Owner Daniel Weatherington said he struggled a long time to keep the candy store running before deciding to close for good.
GREENSBORO, NC – 2020 is almost over and it has been a difficult year for all of us. Small business owners know the battle well. While some found ways to stay open, others ran out of options.
This week Congress passed and the president signed a stimulus package to help these people: $ 284 billion for the paycheck protection program.
For some, it’s a relief. But it is not too late for others.
Daniel Weatherington, owner of the Gate City Candy Company in downtown Greensboro, says the store is permanently closed. He fought a long time to hold out – to keep the candy store going. But it was one thing at a time all year round.
“The store was so much more than just a candy store,” he said, “for me it was a childhood dream.”
Decades ago, at one of the many candy stores he visited with his father in the mountains of North Carolina and Virginia, Weatherington told him that one day he would own his own shop.
“Of course he laughed and said, okay, good – you will,” he recalls, “Well, 30 years later I was able to make that happen. It was a dream that never faded.”
About a year and nine months ago, the military veteran opened the Gate City Candy Company on South Elm Street.
“One of the joys of this place is just seeing people come in and say, oh, I haven’t seen this yet, or look, I told you about this! It was great to hear that and people smile and watch see their eyes shine. “
But just as his business got going – the 2020 hit. The pandemic, the closings, the lack of pedestrian traffic in the city center, the summer riots, the ailing economy – all factors, he says, in his decision to close.
Weatherington said he started burning his personal income to keep the dream alive.
“When that was all gone, reality really hit, okay, I put up the best fight I could take and I just can’t go on.”
He sells the last few candy and fudge to the few who drop by. Unsure of when the last day will be, Weatherington has an idea of what’s next: he’s going west next year and going back to school to become a helicopter pilot.
As difficult as it is to go, he believes better things are to come. There are new dreams to be realized. But he plans to return to Greensboro – the place where he calls home.