Musselman’s Confectionary at the Y.M.C.A. Bldg 1922 – 1944
In December of 1923, J. Joseph Musselman would open a new candy store, Musselman’s, in Watertown having great success in Utica for a number of years where he continued to be invested as well. At the time, Watertown had a number of confectioners including Nicholas D. Dusckas who partnered with his son-in-law, Gus G. Athans, to open the Sugar Bowl, moving it next to the First Baptist Church in 1924, around the corner from Mussleman’s first store at 265 State Street.
The Friday, December 21, 1923 Watertown Daily Times would print–
MUSSELMAN OPENS CANDY STORE ON STATE STREET
Utica Candy Manufacturer Handles Exclusive Line In New Shop
J. Joseph Mussleman, formerly of Utica, Friday opened a store at 265 State Street to be devoted entirely to the handling of home made candies. Mr. Musselman has been engaged in the candy business for a number of years and is an expert candy maker. He is still interested in the Musselman Candy Store at 602 Seneca Street, Utica, where he managed the business for several years.
The store in State Street is the first of its kind to be established in this city. Candy only will be sold there and all varieties will be placed at the disposal of the public. Mr. Musselman plans to specialize in the making of bonbons, caramels and chocolates. All candy will be made in the candy kitchen in the rear of the store.
The store is decorated in an extremely simple manner. The walls are painted white and the only equipment in the store is the long case where the fresh candies will be displayed daily.
Musselman home-mad candies met with great success in Utica and are still sold there in great quantities. The new store will supply this city with these candies.
The Musselman store would be located on State Street for several years, relocating to 118 Franklin street, near the Elk Horn Market, for just over a year before moving to the ground floor corner of the Y.M.C.A. Building in August of 1932. The Times reported–
Within the next few weeks all the stores on the Public Square side of the Y.M.C.A. building will be occupied. It was learned this morning that the Musselman confectionary store, which has been located at 118 Franklin Street for over a year, will move to the Y.M.C.A.building. It will occupy the store where the Kinnie Drug store was formerly located.
The Berow & Monroe shoe store was going to move to that location but will occupy the store in the Y.M.C.A. building where the Downeyflake shop was located. The latter place was closed a short time ago. The store where the Clark Music Company was formerly located and the one where the Berow-Monroe shoe store now is will be used by the Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company.
The store where the Musselman confectionary store is to be located will be entirely redecorated and new fixtures will be installed, making it one of the newest and most modern in the city. The concern will specialize in home made candies and home made ice cream.
The A. & P. Tea Company recently signed a ten year lease for the two stores it is to occupy the Y.M.C.A. building. The work of repairing one store has started and as soon as the Berow & Monroe concern can move into their new quarters work on the other store will be started.
By 1938, Musselman’s had added a restaurant, homemade ice cream and a soda fountain to their repertoire. Their soda fountain, which they had operated for much of their existence in Watertown, featured their own formulas that J. Joseph Musselman would look to capitalize on with the creation of FruTang, Inc. Per the Watertown Daily Times article of June 30th, 1938–
J. Joseph Musselman said today the company will manufacture fruit concentrates for wholesale distribution to be used as a beverage basis. For the past 12 or 13 years he has been making these under his own formulas and has dispensed them over his own counter. Because of their popularity he has planned to make and market them more widely, he said.
Clinton Marsh and Francis C. Musselman, 112-119 212th Street, Bellaire, L.I., were listed as co-directors and stockholders of FruTang, Inc., which would be headquartered in Watertown.
In 1946, J. Joseph Musselman would purchase the Lansing Block from Emma S. Lansing, comprising 221-231 State Street, across from the Olympic Theater. The building was previously owned by the late Robert Lansing, former secretary of state, for whom the block was named after. Musselman’s purchase was made to relocate the business from the Y.M.C.A building as Conde’s hardware store’s imminent relocation would displace Musselman’s, the Home Dairy Cafeteria and Berow & Monroe shoe store.
In 1951, it was reported Musselman’s was under new management, but no further information was provided. In 1953, it appeared the store closed for good as Ike’s Restaurant & Delicatessen would reside in its at that location for a couple of years.
In 1960, Mr. Musselman would be appointed as the Regional Director of the 1960 Federal Census. He would pass away in October 1973 at the age of 77, his obituary noting his long career as a well-known confectioner and the originator of Frutang, a popular soft drink in the North Country during the 1930s, 40s and 50s. Mr. Musselman was buried in North Watertown Cemetery.