Bittersweet news: Nama’s Candy to close Dec. 24

Nama's Candy owner Pat McKee assists a customer.
Nama’s Candy owner Pat McKee assists a customer. (Photos by Larry Vogel)

After 13 years satisfying the collective sweet tooth of Edmonds residents and visitors, Nama’s Candy Store is closing its doors.

The last day for the iconic downtown Edmonds store — famous for both its nostalgia candy and fine chocolates — is Christmas Eve, Dec. 24, said owner Pat McKee.

“This has been a blast,” said McKee, who had a long career in facilities management with Nordstrom before entering the candy business with his wife Annette. “But what it came down to was, it’s time.”

After turning 60 on his most recent birthday, McKee said he realized that signing another lease for the store space — located on 5th Avenue just a half block north of the downtown fountain — would mean he’d be working another three or four years.

He wants more time to fish (he spends many early mornings on the Edmonds Fishing Pier) and more time for community service, which he says has been a hallmark of his business. He also wants to reserve time for any future grandchildren that may come along, and said with a smile it’s OK to drop that hint to both his married sons — 30-year-old Zach and 31-year-old Adam — who worked at Nama’s during their high school and college years.

He said the hardest part about retiring was breaking the news to his three high school employees from Edmonds-Woodway and King’s schools. “They are a fabulous group,” he said.

McKee is a well-known community leader, having served on the boards of the Edmonds Historical Museum and the Edmonds Chamber of Commerce and as president of the Downtown Edmonds Merchants Association. He has also been a generous donor of candy to many worthwhile causes, reflected in the corner-shelf display at the back of the store, which is filled with thank you notes from community members.

“That’s us,” he said, pointing to the dozens of cards and letters received in the past year alone. “I have done a whole bunch of community stuff and this (retirement) just gives me more time to do that.”

McKee points to the display of thank you notes from the community.
McKee points to the display of thank you notes from the community.

The decision to open a candy store came after McKee had helped Nordstrom build its store at Alderwood Mall. “We remodeled Southcenter, we remodeled Northgate and we put in Alderwood in the same year, and I told my wife, ‘That’s enough of that,'” he recalled. The McKees — both long-time Edmonds residents — then took a walk through downtown Edmonds “and we said what’s not here and there wasn’t a candy store, so we opened a candy store.”

While the learning curve “was huge,” McKee admitted, he has now become so familiar with the business that he has served as an advisor to other candy entrepreneurs statewide. Candy stores are seeing a resurgence, he noted, thanks to the popularity of nostalgia candy as well as our society’s love for all things chocolate.

“The Pacific Northwest is just a giant contributor to the national chocolate craze,” he said. “There are chocolatiers all over the place.”

He is also proud of serving as a mentor to Edmonds’ own entrepreneurs who have displayed and sold their products in his store — from Dolly Haakenson’s decorated candy boxes to Denise Meade’s photo cards to cupcakes from Stephanie Buono of Frosted Cupcakes and Cakes.

Best of all, Nama’s “fulfilled our goals,” McKee said. “We wanted to be successful. We wanted to be part of the community. And we wanted to have fun. Those are the three main points of our business plan and we’ve accomplished all three.”

The store — which has been featured twice in Sunset Magazine and even once hosted KING-TV’s Evening Magazine — was listed with Windermere Real Estate but no buyer came forward, McKee said. So he stocked up for the Christmas rush and decorated as usual — for the last time. McKee assures customers that Nama’s has a full inventory of sweets for stocking stuffers and holiday parties through the holiday. But after Dec. 24, whatever candy is left will be donated to the local food bank.

When asked if he had a favorite memory during his 13 years, McKee recounted the time that a young boy rode his bike to the store, came up the counter and ordered a small box of fine chocolates.

“I said, ‘This is awesome, but normally kids your age don’t order this kind of chocolate,'” McKee recalled. “And he said, ‘My sister and her boyfriend broke up and she’s really sad so I’m using my allowance to buy her chocolate.’

“Needless to say he got way more chocolate than his allowance,” McKee said.

— By Teresa Wippel



  1. Pat and Nama’s will truly be missed in the Edmonds business community. A wonderful community member and supporter of the Edmonds Chamber of Commerce for many years.
    Thank you Pat!

  2. Pat – IRS been so fun having you in the community for the past several years. My kids loved coming down for a piece of candy and I always knew where to satisfy my sweet tooth. I hope we see you around town as we will miss you. Thank you for everything!

  3. I can’t stand it! I will miss nama’s so much. It has been a great and fun addition to downtown
    Edmonds. It is always cheery in the store and Pat has been a great storekeeper. Have a great
    so-called retirement Pat. See you in Starbucks.
    Cynthia Accetturo

  4. We had a family tradition with the grandkids. Whenever they came to visit Grammy and Papa, we would go to the beach and then pick out treats at Nama’s. The last to do that was 22 years old! So sorry to see you go! Thanks for the memories.

  5. We’ve loved having you in our community and you will be missed. Thank you for always being so willing to donate and help when our various non profits/ clubs have asked for donations. It’s sad to see you go, but I commend you for taking time for your family and to serve. God bless you~

  6. I’ve been coming here since it first opened when I was four years old, and I’ve grown up with this store. Through all of my candy phases, from chocolate rocks to jelly beans to chocolate covered gummy bears, Pat and this store have always delivered. Pat, thank you so much for all the memories that you have made with me throughout these past 13 years. I’ve known you since I was just a little girl, coming in with my grandma Lynda every so often. Now I’m 17, and Nama’s holds a special place in my heart. Thank you for the memories, I’ll always remember the joy and comfort that you have brought to me. Good luck in your retirement <3

  7. was nice getting to know you… finally!
    will miss Namas…has been a wonderful
    addition to our wonderful community

    Linda McKee McCullough

  8. Thank you for all your dedicated years Pat! AND for giving both my daughter’s their first jobs! Enjoy retirement!

  9. Besides successfully navigating the candy business, there are a few other things I’ve noticed that made Nama’s a success in our downtown core: Pat commonly expresses genuine gratitude to those who visit his store, and his civic and community minded involvment has benefited everyone. THANK YOU for all that and for so willingly letting me sell my photocards in your sweet store!
    Denise Meade

  10. Thank you for being part of the village to help raise Emily. The memories of our regular visits to Namas are so sweet!! Wishing you and Annette all the best in this next chapter of your lives. I will be sure to stop in before that last day.

  11. Noooooo, Pat you have always been the most gracious, dedicated store owner. I always stop by your shop most holidays for my own family. I’ve always been able to find the best products available. I only wish you all the best in your future and hope your retirement dreams come true.

  12. I would like to thank everyone who has read and commented on the news of my retirement. Nama’s has been blessed with awesome support from fabulous customers. Thank You to each and every customer. I wish each one of you the very best.
    I will see you around town
    Pat McKee

  13. The first words our of my mouth on reading the headline were “OH NO!!” We never want a long time business down here in “The Bowl” to close. Especially one that brings so much happiness. Thank you for your time in service to our little downtown and the pleasure of your giant, gentle presence. I will miss everything about Nama’s and wish you a wonderful future.

  14. Very sad, but for all the right reasons! Not only did we love your store, but it was you that made it special! I remember when you first opened and I came in with 3 young biys and I asked my youngest not to touch a display. You immediately came and corrected me and said that this was a store for children and not to worry.

  15. Oh my! On behalf of the non-profit community, I want to thank you for all your generous support over the years. You and Nama’s have been treasured partners. In particular, Edmonds Center for the Arts will miss your ‘sweet’ presence at our events. Best of luck to you on your next set of adventures!

  16. I echo others in saying “Noooooooooooooooo”. Nama’s has been my ‘go to’ place for treats for my friends here in Edmonds. You Will Be Missed!

    1. Hi Patrick, this is your sister-in-law in Sheridan, Wyoming. Congratulations on your retirement! You can walk away knowing what “Joy” you brought to the Edmonds community and the community now knows what “joy” they brought to you! I know you will still be a leader in that community that you love so much. Which is a good thing as those would be “big” shoes to fill! All the best to you and Annette!

  17. Thank you Pat for all the years of dedication to the sweet-tooth fairies of Edmonds and beyond. You were always generous in your donations to various causes as well. Kudos for retiring when you can still do a lot and see a lot. You are a wonderful role model!

  18. My mentor, friend and sounding board! Pat has been a huge part of helping me navigate the candy industry and be my cheerleader. He gave me the courage to jump and I did in opening my store. I am going to miss visiting him at Namas, but know he will be my friend for life.
    Lisa Wangen at Bon Bon candy store on Bainbridge Island.

  19. What a disappointment to have just seen this notice! My son comes all the way from Bozeman, Montana for the seafoam with dark chocolate to take to the Ukraine when he visits there each year! I am searching for candy cigarettes for my pregnant daughter who has a craving for them…not for cigarettes, but for the candy. I was going to call to make sure they were in stock and got this message. I am so sorry you are gone, but wish you well in your retirement!

  20. Wow congratulations Pat this is Jay Shepherd worked with you at Nordstrom for many years happy to see your success and all these great stories told about your store in your life happy for you my friend take care.

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