For the residents of Tuscola, Ill., stepping into Flesor’s Candy Kitchen feels like going back in time.
The red, white and blue tile floors, mahogany furnishings and stained-glass lamps surround visitors in an old-world charm while they enjoy handmade chocolates, sweets and sodas fresh from the old-fashioned soda fountain.
And just like their grandfather, Greek immigrant Gus Flesor, Ann Flesor Beck and Devon Flesor Nau wouldn’t have it any other way.
Originally established in 1901, Flesor’s Kandy Kitchen, as it was known then, closed in 1977 after more than three-quarters of a century as a business and community mainstay. Eight years ago, after their respective fates had taken them away from both candy-making and Tuscola, the sisters decided to renovate and reopen the store they had worked in as children.
Since then, Flesor’s Candy Kitchen has seen considerable community support, including stories shared by customers who visited the store when Gus ran it. Some even remember the exact placement of the original fixtures, which Ann and Devon found stored in a warehouse almost 30 years after they had been stripped from the building.
And while Ann and Devon have restored the shop’s original form, they continue to maintain family tradition through their techniques and treats.
“The reopening was completing a circle of our ancestors,” Ann says.
A full circle, indeed.
What did you think you would be when you grew up?
Devon: A poet.
Ann: I thought I would be a writer.
Name one of your favorite movies.
D: Truly, Madly, Deeplywith Alan Rickman and Juliet Stevenson.
A: One of my favorite movies is Chocolat.
Describe your perfect dream vacation.
D: My perfect vacation must include a beach, a pile of books, excellent food and drink and a loving man.
A: A month on Santorini with my husband.
What book are you currently reading?
D: I am currently reading Death Comes to Pemberley by P. D. James.
A: I am reading Greek history books as I write my dissertation.
Aside from a family member, with whom would you most want to be stranded on a deserted island?
D: An attractive shipbuilder
A: The Johnny Depp from Chocolat.
What is your pet peeve?
I’d give anything to meet…
D: I would like to talk to Michelle Obama about a multitude of topics, including her Let’s Move! campaign.
A: I would like to meet Hillary Clinton since she is a role model for our time.
The best piece of advice I’ve received:
D: Find the humor in every situation
A: What goes around comes around.
What excites you most about your job?
D: I love making consistently excellent candy the old-fashioned way. Give me just a few ingredients, a copper kettle, a wooden paddle and an open flame, and I’m happy.
A: What I like about my job is growing the business and being creative, developing new products.