Check out these unusual and inventive stores around our area.
149 N. Second St., DeKalb, (815) 758-5990, theconfectionary.com
Nearly everything is handcrafted at this quaint confectionary.
“We make everything the old-fashioned way and the customers notice the difference,” says Betsy Hendrey, who owns The Confectionary with her husband, Todd. “Some of our equipment is more than 100 years old.”
The candy shop has been serving customers in DeKalb since 1982. Todd’s parents started the business; Betsy and Todd took over in 2012.
“His parents had a very entrepreneurial spirit and they had a passion for chocolate and candy,” Hendrey says. “They built the business slowly, at first, and began adding more recipes over time.”
Customers use bags placed throughout the store to fill up with their favorite candies, such as Jelly Bellys, malted milk balls or unique licorice products.
“Many companies purchase a caramel compound to make their caramel apples, but we make our caramel from scratch,” Hendrey says. “We put those personal touches on many of our products. We pride ourselves on our attention to detail.”
Employees eat all the candy they want.
Hours: Mon.-Wed. 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m.; Thurs.-Fri. to 7 p.m.; Sat. 9:30 a.m.- 5 p.m.; Sun. 12 p.m.- 4 p.m.
Alp & Dell Cheese Store
657 Second St., Monroe, Wis., (608) 328-3355, alpanddellcheese.com
Tony Zgraggen loves cheese.
His passion led him to buy the Alp & Dell Cheese Store, adjacent to the Emmi Roth cheese factory, in 2009.
“I love being in the business and I love educating people about cheese,” Zgraggen says.
He and wife Esther emigrated from Switzerland to the U.S. in the 1980s. Before opening the business, they operated a dairy farm and sold cheese at a farmer’s market in Madison, Wis.
Zgraggen sells about 150 kinds of cheese, both domestic and imported, including Swiss, German and Dutch.
“I buy the majority of cheese from Emmi Roth,” Zgraggen says. “I also go to different area cheese factories.”
Many of the cheeses in the store can be sampled.
“I don’t want people to walk out of the store without knowing what they’ve purchased,” Zgraggen says.
In addition to cheese, Zgraggen sells locally produced sausages and beer. Every Saturday, there’s a cheese and wine tasting in the store.
Hours: Mon.-Fri. 9 a.m.- 6 p.m.; Sat. to 5 p.m.; Sun. 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Firefly Art Glass LLC
39 N. Wisconsin St., Elkhorn, Wis., (262) 742-2030, fireflyartglass.com
After working as a graphic designer and art director, Debbie Pflanzer was ready for something different.
An art teacher at a local elementary school introduced her to fused art glass, which caught her interest. She began taking classes on it and bought her first kiln in 2010, working out of her basement. Last December, she opened Firefly Art Glass and began selling glass items such as necklaces, jewelry, plates and vases. She also sells supplies for other enthusiasts.
“I fell in love with the glass items,” Pflanzer says. “Doing this is a lot of fun. There are very few glass fusing stores around this area.”
Pflanzer makes the fused art and her friend, Carol Dietenberger, creates the stained glass items.
The women also teach their art forms to others.
“We each teach classes on fused and stained glass,” Pflanzer says. “The classes are small, which allows us to provide more one-on-one attention.”
Hours: Tue.-Fri. 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sat. to 4 p.m.
The Cypress House
718 10th Ave., Rochelle, (815) 562-4159, cypresshouse.net
This business has been around for more than 100 years and is still going strong.
Formerly named Heltness Greenhouse and, later, Price’s Flowers, The Cypress House is a full-service floral shop with an organic espresso bar, boutique and a hair salon.
“We purchased the business 10 years ago and added the espresso bar and clothing,” says Krista Stewart, who owns the business with partner Elke Drendel.
They’re just the third owners to run the business in a century.
“We pride ourselves on non-traditional arrangements, using recycled containers and unique stems, branches and leaves,” Stewart says.
Stewart’s grandfather was a landscaper and her parents are active in a local garden club, so it’s only natural that she followed in their footsteps.
The Cypress House also has a boutique.
“We carry beautiful, unique clothing that you won’t find at many other places,” Stewart says. “We attend several apparel markets looking for lines that you won’t find at major box stores.”
The store hosts outdoor markets from June to September. Local vendors sell farm-fresh and organic produce, artisan breads and baked goods, among other handmade items.
Guests are also invited to the Indoor Cabin Fever Market, put on by local vendors, on the last Saturday of the month, January through March.
Store hours: Mon.-Fri. 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Sat. to 4 p.m.