Paul Rudd and Jeffrey Morgan buy candy store to save it from closing after the owner’s death

Paul Rudd and Jeffrey Morgan, along with their wives Hilarie Burton and Julie Rudd, have purchased Samuel’s Sweet Shop, a beloved candy store in Rhinebeck, New York. The store, which had been an integral part of the community for 25 years, faced closure after the passing of its owner, Ira Gutner, in 2014.

Determined to preserve the store’s charm and keep it running, the celebrity couples decided to buy it. Their connection to the shop spanned several years, and they couldn’t bear the thought of it shutting down, according to USA Today.

The decision to invest in a candy store may seem unexpected for actors known for their roles in popular productions like “Avengers,” “Walking Dead,” and “One Tree Hill.” However, for Rudd and Morgan, it was a deeply personal choice. Both celebrities actively participate in the store’s operations, with Rudd even occasionally working at the register.

Samuel’s Sweet Shop offers a variety of candies, desserts, and pastries. Rudd emphasizes the importance of feeling connected to the community, stating, “One of the most important things any human can experience is to be a part of a community and feel connected to where you live and to other people who live there, especially in a job like mine.” Rhinebeck, New York, is home to both Rudd and Morgan.

Morgan expresses his profound sense of belonging in Rhinebeck, referring to it as “our town.” He describes the town’s people and scenic beauty as contributing to this feeling, in stark contrast to his 20 years in Los Angeles, where he admits to not even knowing his neighbors.

Despite the involvement of popular movie stars, the shop’s management remains rooted in the local community. John Traver, who began working for Gutner at the age of 15, now runs the shop. Traver recounts the uncertain period following Gutner’s passing, as he lacked the means to purchase and operate the store. It seemed inevitable that the shop would close down. However, Morgan reached out to Traver and offered his and Rudd’s assistance, along with a few others.

Traver remembers Burton’s words of encouragement: “Whatever you do, don’t close the shop—hang in there.” Eventually, they acquired the store, and Traver became a partner. He reflects on the triumph that emerged from tragedy, stating, “I had lost my friend. But these really great people came forward and helped me and saved the local candy store, and now I have this incredible opportunity to make this place as successful as I can, which is awesome. It’s great.”

Jeffery Morgan shares his perspective, saying, “When Hilarie and I came to the area and started getting coffee at Samuel’s, Ira made it clear that we were home. We just got each other. Saving Samuel’s is one of the coolest things we have done.”

Paul Rudd finds humor in being a candy shop owner, jokingly mentioning, “The best thing about being an owner of a candy shop is getting my favorite holiday candy in June.” Julie Rudd also reminisces about the magical experience at Samuel’s, particularly during the holidays, as it makes her feel like a little girl again.

For Hilarie Burton, being involved with Samuel’s Sweet Shop is about supporting the talented individuals within the community. She sees the shop as a showcase for the community’s accomplishments, stating, “Samuel’s strives to be the trophy case for all the talented people we have in our community.”