​Kids, 101-year-old candy shop owner share special bond

Candy shop owner going strong at 101 02:24

BROOKLINE, Mass. -- Just about every day since 1939, Ethel Weiss has descended the stairs of her apartment building -- walked 25 feet down the sidewalk -- and opened up her store next door.

Ethel is owner of Irving's, a candy and toy store in Brookline, Massachusetts that she still runs -- by herself -- at the age of 101. Ethel said she doesn't want to retire because she doesn't want to disappoint people.

"There's no one to take it over," she said. "And I don't want it to fall apart at the seams."

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Irving's toy and card shop in Brookline, Massachusetts CBS News

Ethel opened Irving's with her husband Irving near the end of the Great Depression. Her first customers were mostly kids from the grade school next door. Today, she is serving their great grandchildren who continue to flock to Irving's after the closing bell.

Ethel says she can still remember some of their names.

"I always write them down, but then I forget where I wrote it," she said.

She is a 101 -- and the kids are sensitive to that. For example, Ethel used to use transactions as a way to help the kids with their math. But now they help her.

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Ethel Weiss, center, with kids at her candy and toy store CBS News

"What do I owe you?" she asked.

"You don't owe me anything because I didn't give you the dollar yet," answered the customer.

Sweet doesn't begin to describe this candy store.

"She's like a friend to me almost," said one girl.

"Nothing can compare to her and that candy shop," added a boy.

And Ethel says the feeling is mutual.

"It's a wonderful place to be," said Ethel. "And you can see people all the time and you can wave to them - say 'hi.'"

When I asked Ethel if she thought the store had anything to do with her living to be 101 years old, she told me: "Yes, because I love the children."

Go figure, the secret to the fountain of youth -- youth.

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  • Steve Hartman
    Steve Hartman

    Steve Hartman has been a CBS News correspondent since 1998, having served as a part-time correspondent for the previous two years.