Souhegan Valleys mourns the loss of Doug Nelson

WILTON – It’s the end of an era as Wilton and surrounding towns say farewell to “The Candy Man.”

Doug Nelson of Amherst died at his home on July 7, just three weeks shy of his 77th birthday. Born in Lowell, Massachusetts, on July 28, 1944, Nelson was a beloved figure in the area for his love of music, friends and family and his famed store.

An avid baseball player, he spent his teenager summer vacations working in his family’s candy business at Hampton Beach.

After graduating from Lowell Trade School in 1962, he spent much of his adult career in auto mechanics before turning his love and craft for candy making into a full-time passion, purchasing Nelson’s in 1994.

Known for its delicious confections and its hosting of local music, Nelson’s was a staple on Main Street in Wilton.

In 1993, he met Cindy. They married in 1997 and would have celebrated their 24th wedding anniversary next month.

As owner and operator of Nelson’s Candy in Wilton, he loved music as well and around 2000, he expanded his business and opened Locals Café which became a blues mecca for bands near and far. He was then the “Candy Man with the Guitar,” as he was often seen playing his guitar in the shop. Doug was a member of the Sweet Tooth Band and they were the opening act for their blues performers. He enjoyed his time with fellow band members all of whom were good friends.

In 2019 Doug sold his Wilton candy store and continued to work there until he retired at the age of 75.

His other hobbies included fishing, antique cars, working on R.C. airplanes, nature, feeding his birds and mostly spending time with his family and teaching his kids “the tricks of the candy trade.”