Check out these unusual and inventive stores around our area.
Galena’s Kandy Kitchen
100 N. Main St., Galena, Ill., (815) 777-0241, galenaskandykitchen.com
The dream of chocolatier George W. Paxton lives on through the confectionery creations of Galena’s Kandy Kitchen. This nostalgic shop is filled with rows of jar candy, wrapped treats and fresh, homemade sweets – goodies that reflect nearly 80 years of family recipes.
“All of our creations are made in small batches and copper kettles, then hand rolled, hand cut and hand dipped, which gives it the quality of grandma’s house candy,” says Melissa Ettleman, candy maker and manager.
Ettleman works alongside Dianne Paxton, store owner and wife of the late George Paxton, who opened the store in 1974. The most popular candy is the Pecan Georgie, a treat made of caramel, pecans and milk chocolate that pays homage to the shop’s original owner.
George spent his life continuing the legacy of his father, William Paxton, a candymaker who invented Chuckles candy in the mid-1930s. The original handwritten recipe for William’s jelly candy hangs in the Kandy Kitchen today, says Ettleman.
Other favorites include flavored popcorn, homemade fudge, Georgie varieties and fun children’s items.
Hours: Sun.-Thu. 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Fri. to 6 p.m., Sat. to 9 p.m.
Edgerton Books and Art
4 W. Fulton St., Edgerton, Wis., (608) 501-7601, edgertonbooksandart.com
Edgerton Books and Art is the quintessential downtown hotspot for “comfort food for the mind.” The store contains 9,000 volumes of new and used books, all sold at discount prices. Displays show off the talent of more than 20 local artists.
Once a month, the Thursday Evenings at the Bookstore event welcomes regional authors and other writers.
This store stands apart from other booksellers because it’s led by an all-volunteer staff and all profits benefit the Edgerton Alumni Foundation.
In 2007, Russ Veitch helped to form an organization of Edgerton High School alumni who can develop and support local education initiatives. Veitch and his wife, Jan, bought the building on Fulton Street in September 2013 and made it the main fundraising source for the alumni foundation.
“You can get books or art at a very low price, and the Alumni Foundation and local artists benefit as a result of their patronage,” says Veitch.
So far, the foundation has supported Edgerton High School, the Edgerton Sterling North Book & Film Festival, the United Way’s Stuff the Bus Campaign, and more. Hours: Thu. 4-8 p.m., Fri.-Sat. 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
End of the Leash
325 Bay View Road, Mukwonago, Wis., (262) 363-3338, endoftheleash.com
Susan Bower’s mission to help pets live longer, healthier and happier lives started when she changed the way she helped her own beloved pet. In December 1998, her seven-year-old Gordon Setter, Emma, was diagnosed with cancer and given four months to live.
“I started researching how to boost her quality of life,” says Bower.
In 2005, about five years after Emma died, Bower opened End of the Leash so she could teach others about healthy pet lifestyles. The store provides all-natural pet food and treats, homeopathic remedies, supplements, safe toys and unique collars.
The pet-friendly store carries items for dogs and cats, birds, small animals and pet-loving humans. It also hosts frequent visits from animal shelters and adoptable pets, holistic veterinarians, nutritional pet consultants, chiropractors and nail clinics.
“It’s been so rewarding to spread the awareness of health-conscious foods and products, and then to see how it’s impacted pets in our community,” says Bower.
Hours: Mon.-Fri. 9 a.m.-7 p.m., Sat.-Sun. to 4 p.m.
2410 Jackson St., Rockford, (815) 977-5943, facebook.com/trove2410
The Puckett sisters have always considered Rockford’s Highland neighborhood home. Now, with the opening of their co-owned antique store, Trove, the sisters’ childhood stomping grounds also play host to their business.
Housed in the former Earle’s Food Mart and Bloom’s Candy Store, Trove offers antique items and furnishings from primitive and industrial styles to mid-century and 1970s funkadelic eras.
Elizabeth Puckett Bole collected vintage pieces for years before her sister, Mary Puckett Shaughnessy, joined the project last year. Since opening the shop in February, the sisters have expanded the selection every week, bringing in regional artwork and one-of-a-kind items.
“Even if you’re not into antiques, you can still find a truly unique bag, piece of jewelry or candle,” says Bole. “Trove also carries the candy we loved most from the Bloom’s Candy Store days: candy necklaces, Slow Pokes, wax lips and more. It didn’t take long for the neighborhood kids to find us out.”
So far, Bole’s favorite part has been the support from old and new friends.
“It was a great place to grow up,” she says. “Having our shop in this location just feels right.”
Hours: Thu.-Fri. 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sat. to 4 p.m.