Editors, Vineyard Gazette:
I’m always amused to see how information given to someone working for a newspaper can get turned around, and I normally just enjoy it. But when Skip Finley’s Oak Bluffs piece from the May 17 Gazette was pointed out to me, I knew it was time to correct some misinformation. I think my mother, Elizabeth Hilliard Stacy, would be very surprised to hear that she was the founder of Hilliard’s Kitch-in-vue Candies and that Marguerite Cook was one of her five daughters.
The actual founders of Hilliard’s were my grandparents, Perley and Jessie Hilliard. My grandfather was also the inventor of the Hilliard’s chocolate kettle, which is used in quite a few candy stores here on the Vineyard, as well as all over the world. The Vineyard store on Circuit avenue was one of eight stores they owned, and was run as a summer business, beginning just after World War II. My parents bought both the building and the business on Circuit avenue as the Hilliard’s Corporation was beginning to disband in the early 1980s after the death of Ruth Hilliard, my mother’s sister. My parents converted Hilliard’s into a year-round business with the help of myself and my sister Susan Thurber. In 1989 they sold the business to my cousin David Hilliard. They retained ownership of the building however, and it passed to my four sisters and me when our father died in 2011.
Marguerite Cook, the sole owner of the Good Ship Lollipop, is a longtime friend of mine. She moved her store into the old Hilliard’s building in the fall of 2006. With the loan of two small chocolate kettles owned by our family, and with my assistance, hand dipped chocolates were added to her collection of old fashioned goodies for sale. She has since acquired chocolate kettles of her own and has learned the art of chocolate dipping. I have enjoyed working with Marguerite for the past six and a half years, but I do not own any part of the business.
Our thanks to Skip Finley for including the Good Ship Lollipop in his Oak Bluffs piece. With the construction going on at the old building next to us, this past winter has been a difficult one. For most of the winter a large dumpster blocked the view at our end of Circuit avenue and the road has been congested due to the temporary “sidewalk” area. There have often been trucks parked in front of the Good Ship Lollipop, making it difficult for our customers to get to the store. While the new businesses in the remodeled building will most likely bring more customers eventually, the process of getting the job done has not been entirely enjoyable. We thank our loyal customers for continuing to come, and we invite anyone unfamiliar with the store to check us out.
Brenda Mastromonaco, Oak Bluffs