“The D.I.Y. thing, just because of handling food, is not something we’re going to offer,” Mr. Patout said.
There is also a Varietizer, a custom-built vending machine that carries about 23 of the regular Pop-Tart flavors (seasonal offerings, like pumpkin and gingerbread, are excluded for now). Customers use a touch screen to select six two-packs of the tarts for $12, assembling their own variety packs.
The store will put on a brief light show every hour. First, visitors will “get frosted,” Mr. Schoessel said, with a red light and a white light. That will be followed by brief pulses of light, “all different colors to mimic the sprinkles,” he said, “then another really bright light” to evoke wrapping the tarts in foil.
Computer screens in a row at the side of the store provide access to PopTartsWorld.com, social media sites and Pop-Tarts video games, similar to Memory but with pastry icons. Consumers can also buy merchandise, and design their own shirt.
Kellogg said Pop-Tarts had been a strong performer in the most recent quarter, but its net sales were smaller than those of M&M’s and Hershey. In the last year, Kellogg’s sold $481 million worth of Pop-Tarts in mass United States stores (excluding Wal-Mart), according to market-research firm SymphonyIRI Group. Hershey sold $1.07 billion worth of candy, while M&M’s sold $753 million.
“Our long-term hope is to strengthen the bonding between the brand and the consumer, and that has great benefits for the brand,” Mr. Patout said.
Pop-Tarts were introduced by Kellogg’s in 1964 to compete with a similar product from Post called Country Squares. The Kellogg’s version took off, in part because of its name, which reflected the growing Pop Art movement.
Just a presence in Times Square can help a company, said Richard Demb, a co-founder of Dale and Thomas Popcorn, which had a Times Square shop in the mid-2000s.
“It was a way to project an image of growth and maturity,” said Mr. Demb, who left Dale and Thomas and is now co-founder of AbesMarket.com. “Rent is, obviously, more than it is in most other places, but there are opportunities in Times Square that you would not find anywhere else.”
Times Square is expensive real estate — between 44th and 46th streets, the rent is around $1,000 per square foot, said Ms. Pomerantz of PBS Real Estate, while it drops to $400 or so per square foot at 42nd street and south.
“The billboards cost as much as the retail space,” said Faith Hope Consolo, chairwoman of the retail leasing and sales division at Prudential Douglas Elliman. “When Hershey’s first went into Times Square, they had a store that was about 150 feet, but they had a 100-foot sign. They wanted a billboard.”
There is no 100-foot sign, but Pop-Tarts is wrapping its 50-foot storefront in Pop-Tarts branding, and taking over the six-story billboard above the store. “It gives them a visibility that they can’t get anywhere else,” Ms. Consolo said.