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Carl’s Candies

Hugo Fitz and his barista, Vito, at Nautilus Roasting's pop-up shop inside Carl's Candies. Photo by Sara-Megan Walsh

Coffee lovers may find themselves intrigued by a sidewalk sign promising Japanese iced coffee is available inside Carl’s Candies.

Nautilus Roasting Co. owner Hugo Fitz has launched a seasonal pop-up coffee shop off Northport’s Main Street that will offer a variety of hot and iced coffee drinks for sale through Sept. 30. For Fitz, he said he hopes the stand is a first step toward fulfilling a dream.

It’s been at least 12 years of me talking about how I’d love to open up a coffee shop one day.”

— Hugo Fitz

“I have a passion for coffee,” he said. “It’s been at least 12 years of me talking about how I’d love to open up a coffee shop one day.”

A Huntington Station resident, Fitz, 39, has spent the last 13 years working for a New York City advertising agency. Facing lengthy commutes into the city, coffee was not only a passion but a daily necessity.

“There’s plenty of opportunities to experience higher-end coffee when you work in the city,” the entrepreneur said. “There’s where I cut my teeth on being a coffee fan.”

Pourover coffee at Nautilus Roasting’s pop-up shop. Photo by Sara-Megan Walsh

Fitz said he quickly became a hobbyist who “dove down the wormhole” in learning what went into a cup of java starting with four different methods of processing the beans, the hundred or more methods of brewing from standard drip and iced coffee to Japanese iced brew. This Japanese iced brew method at Nautilus uses hot water and a traditional drip to brew the coffee, but then drops onto ice “flash freezing” it to preserve each batch’s unique flavors.

“I have a master’s degree worth of knowledge in coffee, and yet, there’s still so much more I don’t know,” he said. “I think to evangelize good coffee to people, this is a great opportunity.”

Fitz said he wants to help bring “third-wave” coffee, a movement to create high-quality artisanal coffee that’s sourced from individual farmers or locally roasted, out to Long Island. While it’s prevalent in New York City, he claims to know only a handful of shops that offer it locally.

In 2017, the entrepreneur founded Huntington-based Nautilus Roasting Co. and began searching for a storefront. After four failed attempts at negotiating a commercial lease, Fitz said he decided just to focus on what he loved — making a great cup of joe. The entrepreneur began renting time on a Long Island City roasting machine to prepare 25 to 40 pounds of coffee beans at a time — putting him in business as a nanoroaster. His first product, the Signature blend of Columbia, Burundi, Guatemala and Sumatra coffee beans, was sold online. 

There’s a great opportunity to bring the coffee bar up on Long Island.”

— Hugo Fitz

Fitz met with Gina Nisi, owner of Carl’s Candies, looking to rent space before being offered the chance to setup a space of his own. He’s got a small coffee bar set up inside the sweet shop where customers can purchase espresso, hot coffee, hot or cold lattes, cold brew, Japanese iced brew or the potent Red Eye, a choice of hot or Japanese iced brew coffee with two espressos, made from his roasted beans through Sept. 30. Prices range from approximately $2.50 to $4 per serving.

Fitz said he feels like he’s gotten a warm reception in Northport, sometimes finding it difficult to keep growlers of cold brew and cold-brew concentrate in stock due to its popularity.

“There’s a great opportunity to bring the coffee bar up on Long Island,” Fitz said. “There’s no reason if you want great coffee to go to Brooklyn. It’s not grown there. We can make great coffee here too, and get people drinking great coffee.”

Bags of his specialty coffees are available for purchase inside the Carl’s Candies. Learn more about Nautilus Roasting at www.nautilusroasting.com.

SWEET GETUP

Ellen Segal of Port Jefferson spotted this candy dress in the storefront window of Carl’s Candies on a recent visit to Northport’s Main Street and just had to stop and snap a photo. The outfit, with a top made of gummy bears, a belt of gumballs and lollipops, a skirt made of candy button sheets and twizzler shoes, is as sweet as sugar.

The front entrance of Carl’s Candies. Photo by Victoria Espinoza

By Victoria Espinoza

If you’re looking to treat your sweet tooth, Northport has just the spot for you.

Carl’s Candies, at 50 Main St., has replaced the well-known Harbor Trading, when it closed its doors earlier this year.

Sisters and co-owners of Carl’s Candies, Angela Nisi-MacNeill and Gina Nisi, are no strangers to Main Street. The Northport natives jumped at the opportunity to open a candy shop together and said they have had nothing short of a blast since opening in October.

Gina Nisi and Angela Nisi-MacNeill are the co-owners of Carl’s Candies. The new candy shop replacing Harbor Trading on Main Street in Northport. Photo by Victoria Espinoza
Gina Nisi and Angela Nisi-MacNeill are the co-owners of Carl’s Candies. The new candy shop replacing Harbor Trading on Main Street in Northport. Photo by Victoria Espinoza

“When we heard the former owner was retiring and the building was up for sale, my sister took that as an opportunity to take over and keep it as a candy store,” Nisi said. “Everyone loved Harbor Trading so much, and I think the village always should have a candy store.”

Her sister said she’s had so much fun since opening at the end of October.

“I honestly don’t think I will ever get sick of it,” Nisi-MacNeill said. “I won’t get sick of coming in here every day — no matter how many years I work here. I just think that it’s fun and it’s a good creative outlet. I enjoy making candy and being creative with the window displays.”

Nisi-MacNeill was also able to get creative when a young girl came into the store suggesting they have a book exchange set up at the location.

“Her father came in with a little cardboard stand and asked if we could put it in the store, and I thought ‘I want to make it more special for her’ so we did this,” she said as she pointed to a large wooden shelf holding dozens of books and decorated with pages of other books all around it.

“It’s a really nice idea, and a lot of people are enjoying it,” she said.

Although this is the first joint venture for the sisters into co-owning a business, Nisi-MacNeill certainly has some valuable past experience as an employee of Harbor Trading back when she was a Northport High School student.

“I remember the smell of the candy store,” she said, thinking back of her time working there. “When we took over the candy store it was empty, so once we started to bring in the candy that’s when the reality hit and the memories really started coming back. Just that smell of all the candy together, it brings back really nice memories.”

“I won’t get sick of coming in here every day — no matter how many years I work here. I just think that it’s fun and it’s a good creative outlet.”

—Angela Nisi-MacNeill

Nisi-MacNeil said she is excited to get back to work in her community.

“[Northport] still maintains that old hometown feel,” she said. “That’s really hard to find.” Nisi said the shop already has a lot of regulars coming in.

The name Carl’s Candies is a tribute to the sisters’ late grandfather, Carl Foglia, another Northport native who worked at a butcher shop that used to be where Skipper’s Pub is now, as a limo driver for Northport residents, a real estate agent and more. He died in 2014.

Nisi said he would hang out in the village every day, stopping at many places like the Ritz Café.

“He was sort of like a fixture in town,” she said. “Obviously we miss him dearly, and when we saw the opportunity we agreed we had to name the shop after him.”

The co-owners said many shoppers have come in with stories and memories about Foglia. “We hear really funny stories that we haven’t heard before, which is fun,” Nisi-MacNeill said.

The sisters said there is plenty to come for the freshman candy shop. They plan to start making their own chocolate to sell in January, offer candy catering for events, set up monthly circle readings with local children’s authors, host make your own chocolate nights, sell homemade hot chocolate and more. They’ve already started creating some new ice cream flavors, the first name Tim’s Shipwreck Diner, after the popular breakfast eatery next door, which is a vanilla bean ice cream  with waffles and maple syrup ribbons in it.

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