Sia Bassil can't imagine life without the Carmelcorn Shop in Easton.
As hard as it is to walk away from the business where she's worked since 1977, she knows it's time for her to sell it.
"The business is fantastic," she said, adding "I believe God put everyone on this earth for a reason. I think I served my purpose. Now it's time to move on to my family."
Bassil was a student at Notre Dame High School when the call went out over the public address system for part-time help at the shop founded in Easton in 1931. She lived short walk away and figured she could earn some extra spending money.
Little did she know that was the making of a career and a passion.
"I think the most important thing for me was the way our customers were treated," Bassil said. "It was very important that they got exactly what they wanted."
If a customer tapped on the door after closing time looking to place an order, she opened up. If they wanted light salt on their nuts, she shook on less.
She recalls one Valentine's Day when she worked 24 hours straight to make sure the strawberries she coated with chocolate would be a fresh as possible when her customers picked them up.
"I met their demands. You don't find that much today. That's what they tell me," she said.
Her service and rapport with her customers has earned her repeat trips, and purchases years later by her customers' children and grandchildren.
She's almost afraid to face her customers when they realize she's ready to sell. But she wants more flexibility to see her two daughters, who live in Lebanon and New York City, and her son, who just started college.
"When they come for the holidays I barely see them," Bassil said. "The business, especially around the holidays, is demanding on time."
She and her husband, Easton City controller Tony Bassil, bought the store in 1996. She never would have succeeded without his support, his help and the help and understanding of their children.
"I missed a lot of my kids' sporting games," she said. "There were years I never had a Saturday off."
How a historic Easton building transformed over 169 years
She is in no rush to sell. It might take a month. It might take a year. When the right buyer arrives, she'll know in her heart. She said she owes it to her customers to sell to someone who cares as much about the shop as she does.
The business will celebrate 85 years next month and she wants to sell to someone who will take it to 100. And after the sale, it will be time to take a deep breath and relax.
"I have no idea what the next stage of my life will be but it will definitely be with my husband and my children," Bassil said.
Rudy Miller may be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @RudyMillerLV. Find Easton area news on Facebook.
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