Candle Company Creates Hills Snack Bar Scent, Entire Mid-Atlantic Freaks Out

Image courtesy of Sugar Creek Candle Company

If you lived in parts of the Mid-Atlantic, South, or Midwest in the ’80s or ’90s, you were probably familiar with the discount department store chain Hills. (If you aren’t from that area, when you read this story, substitute your favorite now-defunct local or regional department or discount store for Hills.) This week, a local YouTube channel and a candle company teamed up to create a scented candle, and created a frenzy.

Hills stores had snack bars in the lobby, which were nothing unique: popcorn, fossilized hot dogs, soda, and Icees were all available. The stores also had housewares, clothes, and a great toy section, which starred in their most memorable commercials for shoppers of a certain age.

Hills disappeared in 1999 when dueling discount store Ames acquired it and swallowed up the stores, and those stores closed just a few years later.

The hyperlocal comedy channel Pittsburgh Dad integrated this into a tribute to Back to the Future, where the title character traveled in a DeLorean back to important dates in Pittsburgh history, including a visit to a Hills store in 1989 that included a stop at the snack bar for an Icee.

Here’s that clip: if it doesn’t skip to the right part, Hills is at 2 minutes and 30 seconds.

Using this for inspiration, when the Pittsburgh Dad team worked with a local soy candle company to create themed scents in a bit of local corporate synergy, the first one was obvious: Hills Snack Bar. No, really.

pittsburgh dad candle

The fragrance has notes of all of the things you love about snack bars: cherry Icee, warm pretzels, and popcorn. Day-old hot dog oil may have been too difficult to synthesize.

You can’t actually order the candle from the website until tomorrow, but you can apparently order over the phone. One of the company’s owners told the Buffalo News that they’ve shipped candles to 15 different states, and people are ordering up to five at a time.

“Everybody has a story about Hills. Everybody misses it,” one of the owners told the paper. Indeed.

If you can’t get enough defunct discount store merch, Pittsburgh Dad also has a store where you can buy T-shirts with the logo.

People love this candle that smells like a Hills snack bar [Buffalo News] (Thanks, Wendy!)

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