This Candle Smells Like a Defunct Discount Store's Snack Bar

Sugar Creek Candle Company
Sugar Creek Candle Company

Smell can light up one's memory more surely and immediately than any other sense. So it makes sense that Pennsylvania-based Sugar Creek Candle Company has scored a nostalgic hit with a candle fragranced like the snack bar of Hills, a now-defunct department store.

Anthony Barravecchio, co-founder and chief operating officer of the Sugar Creek Candle Company in Irwin, Pennsylvania, says he has lost count of the number of orders he’s received for the "Pittsburgh Dad's Hills Snack Bar" candle. “It’s been thousands,” he tells Mental Floss.

Barravecchio won’t disclose the ingredients that make the candle smell like Hills, but they apparently work: A woman on Sugar Creek’s Facebook page commented: “[M]y husband didn't know anything about the candle. He came through the door, stopped, smelled, paused for a minute and said, "[D]oes it smell like Hill's in here?’ Lol.”

At one point, the Canton, Ohio-based Hills department store had more than 200 locations in 14 states. The store’s trademark snack bars sold hot dogs, soft pretzels, buttered popcorn, and soft drinks. Their smells were an olfactory mainstay throughout the Mid-Atlantic and Lower Midwest before Hills entered a financial downward spiral and was acquired and absorbed by competitor Ames in 1998. (Four years later, Ames also folded.)

Though gone, Hills lives on in the memories of the people who use to eat pretzels and ICEEs at their snack bars. One such person is Curt Wootton, a comedian who stars in the hyperlocal (and popular) YouTube sitcom Pittsburgh Dad, which features monologues from a working-class cheapskate father character. The series’ most high-production episode features a fantasy sequence in which Pittsburgh Dad uses the Back to the Future DeLorean to travel back in time to shop at Hills. (Wootton even purchased rights to the Hills logo on the cheap.)

Wootton and Barravecchio belong to the same gym, and the candle came to fruition after Barravecchio approached him and inquired about making a tie-in product.

Sugar Creek makes soy candles (better for scent, says Barravecchio), and the company often uses irreverent humor to sell their products. In addition to typical fragrances, their line includes "Waffles N’At" candles and the tropical-scented "Monkey Farts." Their candles, including Pittsburgh Dad Hills Snack Bar, are available online and at a few stores (including one that, like Hills, is a regional icon: The Giant Eagle grocery chain).

New Harry Potter Scrabble Accepts Wizarding Words Like Hogwarts and Dobby


Patronus, Hogwarts, and Dobby may not be words found in the official Scrabble dictionary, but they are very real to Harry Potter fans. Now there's finally a board game that lets players win points using the magical vocabulary made famous by the Harry Potter books and movies. SCRABBLE: World of Harry Potter from USAopoly is a new edition of Scrabble that recognizes characters, place names, spells, and potions from J.K. Rowling's Wizarding World.

Like traditional Scrabble, players use the letter tiles they pick up to spell out words on the board, with different words earning different point values. Any word you can find in an up-to-date Merriam-Webster Dictionary is still fair game, but in this version, terms coined in Harry Potter qualify as well. First and last names, whether they belong to characters (Albus or Dumbledore, for example) or actors from the franchise (Emma or Watson), are playable. You can also spell magical place names (like Hogsmeade), spells (accio), and objects (snitch).

Harry Potter version of Scrabble.

Showing off the depth of your Harry Potter knowledge isn't the only reason to put wizarding words on the board. Magical words are worth bonus points, with players earning more points the longer the word is. SCRABBLE: World of Harry Potter also includes cards with special challenges for players—a feature that can't be found in any other version of the game.

This Harry Potter edition of Scrabble will be available for $30 at Barnes & Noble and other retailers this spring. Until then, there are plenty of Harry Potter-themed games, including wizarding chess, out there for you to play.

Harry Potter version of Scrabble.

This 1980s Copy of Super Mario Bros. Is One of the Most Expensive Video Games in History

The original Super Mario Bros. changed video games forever when Nintendo released it for the NES in the 1980s, and now it's making history again. As The Verge reports, a mint cartridge from 1985 just sold for $100,150, breaking a world record in video game sales.

Super Mario Bros. was the first game starring Mario that Nintendo released for a home console. Most old copies of the game from the 1980s show noticeable wear, but the item that just sold through Heritage Auctions was a rare find for collectors. The cartridge is still preserved in its sealed case, earning it a "near mint" grade of 9.4 and a A++ "seal rating" from the rare game certifiers Wata Games.

It's also a rare "sticker-sealed" copy that Nintendo created for an exclusive test market launch of the NES in New York and Los Angeles. That, along with the game's pristine condition, helped make it the most expensive graded game ever sold when a group of collectors purchased it for $100,150 at auction.

Super Mario Bros. helped launch a video game franchise and paved the way for some of Nintendo's most famous properties, including Mario Cart and Super Smash Bros. It's one of several old-school NES games that collectors are willing to shell out big bucks for. Stadium Events, the 1990 Nintendo World Championships (one sold in 2014 for $100,088), and the Nintendo Campus Challenge are also very rare and expensive.

[h/t The Verge]