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The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Small Business Spotlight: The Carmelcorn Shop serves up sweet treats for Easton

Sia Bassil has owned The Carmelcorn Shop in downtown Easton since 1996. (Photo courtesy of @thecarmelcornshop on Instagram)

When Sia Bassil began working at the Carmelcorn Shop, she was 14 years old and needed the job to help pay for her high school tuition. Now in her 44th year at the shop, Bassil has tried to keep the original charm of one of Easton’s long-running small businesses.

Ruth Doherty, who opened the shop with her husband John in 1931, originally interviewed Bassil for the job. Now, Bassil is running the shop herself.

“They hired me and the rest is history,” Bassil said.

After working behind the counter for many years, Bassil bought the Carmelcorn Shop in 1996 and has since completely devoted her life to the many sweet treats sold in her store.

Along with the specialty the shop was named after, the Carmelcorn Shop carries chocolates, nuts and packaged candies that rotate with the seasons and holidays.

Behind the store’s counter lies the “popper,” the machine which has been used to produce caramel corn for over 77 years. The popper has a built-in motor, so all the work is done by hand.

Bassil’s reputation for making her own candy has contributed to the endurance of the shop. She roasts all of her own nuts — including the extremely popular cashews. She also makes vast quantities of chocolate in-house and packages her own candy.

Despite the volume and variety of items in her store, the shop does not have any warehouse space, nor does Bassil pre-stock any of her items for long periods of time.

“Returning customers know what kind of business we do, and everything [is] fresh, because I make things as I need them,” she explained.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the Carmelcorn Shop found a way to keep its business running without using online sales.

“We were closed for the first three weeks of the pandemic. But then, when the governor allowed food businesses to open based on doing curbside for delivery, we did reopen and we did do curbside,” Bassil said.

This curbside option, along with home delivery, kept the shop afloat during the eight month long period in which customers were unable to enter the store.

Bassil’s rapport with her customers also helped to keep her business alive, as she is open to catering to their specific requests.

“I prefer to do one-on-one interaction with customers — talk to them on the phone [or] have them come in. Someone always wants something that you do not have, or packaging a product a way that would work for them for their needs,” Bassil said.

“Somehow we always managed to impress them, and returning customers are important, so that has helped us to keep going,” Bassil said.

The Carmelcorn Shop has a long-standing relationship with students on College Hill. One of the most common items she provides to the Lafayette community is care packages from parents and other family members.

Bassil first sees parents of Lafayette students during open houses and football games. They then come back to send treats from the shop to their children for holidays and during stressful times during the semester, such as exam weeks. Bassil hand-delivers these packages to students.

Bassil finds that the customers’ gratitude keeps her going after long days and nights in the shop.

“People are amazed when they walk in, and just to have someone make a comment about that, it just rejuvenates you every day,” Bassil said. “When someone comes in and compliments or says, ‘Wow, what a great little shop,’ it’s just overwhelming.”

Bassil doesn’t plan to change anything about her business in the future.

“We’ve been here this long. And as long as I can pay my bills and get by each month, I’m just not going to change anything. I’ll keep going as long as I can,” she said.

The Carmelcorn Shop can be found just off the circle at 62 Centre Square in downtown Easton, or online at

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About the Contributor
Kristen Vincent
Kristen Vincent, Assistant Culture Editor

Kristen Vincent ‘26 is an English Major and a Government and Law Minor. Aside from writing and editing for the newspaper, she is an EXCEL scholar, Writing Associate, LEO, and Secretary of the English Club. When she is not critiquing the latest biopic about a musician with a legendary past, she can be found working on her latest poem or rustling through the bargain bin at your local record store.

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