In Search Of…The Sweet Shop! 2/15/10

Reported by Jennifer Livingston


The Sweet shop on La Crosse’s north side is a very busy place these days. “This time of year is crazy. This next
week is going to be just nuts with Valentine’s coming up,” says manager and future owner Chad Johnson.

But for current owner Bill Espe, it’s nothing he hasn’t seen before. “38 years I’ve done this now.”

Bill’s great uncle Cecil Allen opened the store back in 1921 and today it’s one of the oldest north side
establishments. “We have 3rd and 4th generations of people coming in saying their grand parents came in.”

Back in the day, this was ‘the’ hang out for Logan high school kids. “In high school we’d come and have our
sundae’s and soda’s,” says lifelong customer Liz Fritz.

Johnson adds, “you hear a lot of stories. People that met back in the 50’s and 60’s that have been married forever
that met in this place.”

From the cinnamon sticks to toffee to the booming sugar free varieties, every piece of candy is still hand dipped by
one of the ten employees here. Employees like Shirley Stein, who left a long time job in a dental office for this
candy career – how’s that for irony! “It’s a dirty job, but somebody’s got to do it.”

The store will sell thousands of pieces of candy this week. “Early in the week we have a lot of ladies getting
their shopping done but the couple days before valentines day…it’s all men. Try to keep everybody out of the dog
house if we can!”

“What are you getting today? Dark chocolate cinnamon sticks and love food. For what? For my husband. And you said
you’re going to have to hide them? In my car. So he doesn’t see them? So I don’t eat them!”

Whether your a long time customer or a brand new one, if your looking for a sweet treat for your sweetheart, The
Sweet Shop is the spot for you. “This place has been here forever. The history will carry it into the future.”