Paul Rudd and Jeffrey Morgan have homes in Rhinebeck, New York, and decided to buy the store along with their wives, Hilarie Burton and Julie Rudd.
Editor's Note: This article was originally published on January 11, 2022. It has since been updated.
Samuel's Sweet Shop, a candy store with an old-world charm, celebrated its 25th anniversary. The shop has been an integral part of the community in Rhinebeck, New York, and almost shut down in 2014 when its owner Ira Gutner passed away. But Paul Rudd, Jeffery Dean Morgan and their spouses, Hilarie Burton and Julie Rudd decided to buy the shop to maintain it as it was, as a gift to themselves and the community. They had been coming here for years, just like so many others in the area, and couldn't stand the thought of the establishment having to close, reported USA Today.
Successful actors are known to make glamorous investments, so this particular investment into a candy store by the "Avengers," "Walking Dead" and "One Tree Hill" stars seemed out of place. For them, though, it was a very personal decision. Rudd and Morgan are very involved in the candy store, and Rudd even works at the register occasionally. The store serves up candies, desserts and pastries among other things. Rudd believes it's important to feel that connection and be part of the community. "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," said Rudd. Both Rudd and Morgan have homes in Rhinebeck, New York.
Morgan says he's always felt at home in Rhinebeck, describing it as our town. "It's the first time I've felt at home in my entire adult life. It's a combination of the people and the scenery. It's a different vibe from my 20 years in LA when I didn't even know my neighbors," said Morgan. While the sweet shop might have the backing of popular movie stars, the management is essentially local people. John Traver, who started working for Gutner at the age of 15, is now running the shop. “It continued to operate in the wake of Ira’s death. Due to lots of hard work and good fortune, it continued to operate,” said Traver.
Traver recalls the ominous feeling after Gunter's death. He didn't have the means to buy and run the shop and it looked like it was only a matter of time before it would be shut down. That's when Morgan contacted him and said he and a few others including Paul Rudd would help keep the store running. Traver said Burton told him, “Whatever you do, don’t close the shop — hang in there.” They bought the store and Traver became a partner. “There was triumph out of tragedy,” said Traver. “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.”
“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,” said Jeffery Morgan. Paul Rudd is always looking at the brighter side of life. “The best thing about being an owner of a candy shop is getting my favorite holiday candy in June,” he joked. It's the same with his wife, Julie. “The magic of Samuel’s, especially during the holidays, makes me feel like a little girl again,” she said. For Hilarie Burton, it's also about helping the people in the community. “Samuel’s strives to be the trophy case for all the talented people we have in our community,” she said.