Now here’s a story you might not know about Paul Rudd and Jeffrey Dean Morgan.
People love to go to Samuel’s Sweet Shop in Rhinebeck, New York, for their assortment of candy, colorful sweets, and great coffee, among other things. But more than delicacies, the cute little shop also offers its customers a sense of community.
“Everyone knows your name,” said Rachel Hyman Ross, a regular customer at Samuel’s.
The store also has its fair share of loyal customers, including celebrities Paul Rudd and Jeffrey Dean Morgan and their wives Julie Rudd and “One Tree Hill” star Hillary Burton.
After its original owner, Ira Guttner, died suddenly in April 2014, the couples—who had been coming to Samuel’s for a long time—purchased it in December 2014.
Like many others in the community, they couldn’t stand the thought of closing the witch shop. It was an integral part of society, and they wanted it to survive, so they decided to buy it.
Rod and Morgan are both Hudson Valley residents and have been coming to Samuel with their families for a long time. Morgan is passionate about shop coffee, while Rudd brings his family to the shop and Samuel’s tent at the Dutchess County Fair.
Morgan said that when he and Hillary started getting coffee at Samuel’s, Guttner made them feel right at home.
“We got each other. Saving Samuel is one of the coolest things we’ve done,” he said.
With the help of the third couple, Andy Ostroy and Phoebe Jonas, who also had ties to the entertainment industry, they intervened to save the store from closing. They have also used their fame to promote Samuel on national TV shows recently.
Morgan, who stars in “The Walking Dead” as the villainous “Negan,” donned a Samuel hat on an episode of “Talking Dead,” the talk show that follows every episode of “The Walking Dead.”
In an appearance on “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon” last month, Morgan presented the host with a gift basket for Samuel while promoting the shop and Rhinebeck.
“We can’t buy an ad like that, with a national television audience,” said Mary Kay Frba, president of Dutchess Tours.
The 22-year-old store has retained its local charm, thanks to the careful management of John Traver, a Rheinbeck resident who started working for Guttner when he was 15.
Guttner’s estate ran the store after his death, and with no way to purchase and manage it, Traver feared the store would soon close.
Fortunately, the actors and their families encouraged him to continue and promised that they would keep the store running.
According to Traver, Burton told him, “Whatever you do, don’t close the store—wait there.”
“He continued to work in the wake of Ira’s death,” Travers said. “Because of a lot of hard work and good luck, I kept working.”
“There was a triumph of tragedy,” he added. “I lost my friend. But these really great people have come forward and helped me and saved the local candy store and now I have this amazing opportunity to make this place as successful as possible, which is amazing. It’s amazing.”
Traver is now a partner in the store that runs its day-to-day operations. He said the business is developing.
“When I was 15, it was fun to go to work and sell candy and coffee,” he said. “Now, it is more different. We need this business to grow and be as successful as possible, so that we can employ more local people, so that we can buy more products from local artisans.”
For Rudd, who works at the registry occasionally, the best thing about being a candy store owner is “getting my favorite holiday candy in June.” As for his wife, “Samuel’s charm, especially during the holidays, makes me feel like a little girl again.”
For Hillary, it’s all about helping people in the community.
“Samuel strives to be a trophy for all the talented people we have in our community,” she said.
You can follow Samuel’s Sweet Shop on their website and on Instagram.
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