Peeps Shrine Opens at National Harbor

Because the country needed a place to honor pastel marshmallows

A pre-Christmas event for an Easter fave is scaring us more than a Halloween horror show.

The nation's first Peeps store opened at National Harbor Thursday. Yep, those pastel marshmallow birds that seem like some joint Hitchcock-Seuss practical joke. It's no longer sufficient to merely purchase stale marshmallow figurines at 7-Eleven. Now they need their own store.

Peeps & Co. promises to sell more than just candy. A whole line of paraphernalia will be available -- T-shirts, plush dolls in both the chick and bunny shapes, pillows, key chains, a hand-blown Peep, and even china. Imagine trying to eat dinner with the beady, black eyes of dessert staring back at you. There's 850 different Peeps products in all.

The idea was hatched, in part, by growing sugar confectionary sales. And apparently Peeps' cult following has grown to the point that people have been asking for a Peeps store for years -- so parent company Just Born says.

"Our fans have asked us for years, 'What about a store?'" Kathy Bassininski, who oversaw the creation of Peeps & Company stores for Just Born, based in Bethlehem, Pa., told the Associate Press.

How far does the fanaticism go? Almost 30 newspapers held Peeps diorama contests last Easter, the AP reported, and the company said 100,000 people are registered with its Peeps fan club.

The store has ultra yellow awnings, chick-shaped door handles, 3-D chick tile work behind the register and one-of-a-kind Peeps artwork on the walls. The art is also for sale.

Of course, you can buy the candy at the store. Chicks and bunnies are in stock, and the store also will carry their seasonal offerings like Valentine's hearts and Christmas trees, the AP reported.

Other locations are possible in the future, and Just Born plans to blow up the online store like a Peep in a microwave.

Washington artist David Ottogalli, who repairs MRI equipment by day and turns Peeps into sculptures by night, made some of the artwork for the store. He told the Associated Press that a woman once watched him work on a piece and remarked, "Thank God you found something to do with those things other than eat them."

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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