History & Legacy
About The Candyman
The Candyman Strings & Things (The Candyman) is Santa Fe’s Community Music Center, New Mexico’s premier full-line music store and a welcoming music hub and education center serving people from all walks of life; from families to professional musicians, and everyone in between. Winning the prestigious National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Dealer of the Year Award (in other words, the best music store in 104 countries!) and the Music & Sound Awards Dealer of the Year, (among many other awards), The Candyman also offers music instruction, instrument rentals, instrument repairs and commercial sound installation.
The Candyman History & Legacy
The Candyman legacy includes a rich and storied history opening its doors in 1969 as a humble acoustic guitar – to a large home theater, electronics, recorded music and musical instrument store in 1984 – and back to its roots as a musical instruments store (with a few additions including a music education center, repairs and rentals) in 2009.
This photos shows the empty lot at 851 St. Michael's Drive prior to The Candyman being built.
May 31, 1969
After floating from coast to coast with only $10,000 capital, Matthew Schwartzman landed in Santa Fe and opened The Candyman on May 31st, 1969 in a 200 square foot space on Water Street in downtown Santa Fe, NM. Originally, the store only sold acoustic guitars, but within a few months started selling recorded music. Later, the store began to carry electrical instruments and offered repair services and eventually, a second location on Galisteo Street was opened, primarily selling stereo equipment.
An event that became known as the notorious Candyman fire (burning a million dollars-worth of inventory and causing significant damage to the rental space).
Photo courtesy of the Palace of the Governors Photo Archives Collection
Mr. Schwartzman purchased an empty lot and began construction on The Candyman Center at 851 St. Michael’s Drive in Santa Fe. The building included a 10,000 square foot main retail space and four smaller rental units. The Candyman Strings & Things is still housed in this building today as well as current tenants, Barkin’ Attic and Dot Foil.
The Candyman opened for business in its new 10,00 square foot facility in the main area of The Candyman Center. The addition of consumer electronics division was added. The Candyman became the premier source for musical instruments, recorded music and electronics in Northern New Mexico.
As electronics and home theater increasingly became the focus of the store, the musical instrument department “Strings & Things” was moved into one of the rental spaces at The Candyman Center.
The Candyman maintained its status, enduring market fluctuations and the comings and goings of competition over the next 25 years.
Sadly, founder Matthew Schwartzman died from a malignant brain tumor.
Soon after Mr. Schwartzman’s heart-wrenching and unfortunate death, the business’ General Manager, Rand Cook, and his wife, Cindy Cook, purchased Strings & Things. (The Schwartzman family made the decision to eliminate all consumer electronics and recorded music that populated the main area of the building.) The Cooks expanded the ‘birthplace’ of the company, musical instruments. Reinvention of The Candyman Strings & Things took place over the next 4 months and Strings & Things took occupation of the 10,000 square foot facility and expanded its product offerings and added an instrument rental counter, a repair department and a music education center.