Becky McGuire, half of the duo that bought Miracole’s Candy Shoppe on Aug. 2, peered through the shades as I approached the entrance of the candy store, located just off of main street in downtown Lakeville.
As I drew closer, she opened the door quickly and briefly looked around at the street outside.
“Let’s hurry up and get inside,” McGuire said. “The kids know my car and they will chase me down for candy.”
As she ushered me into the store, the tan, rough exterior of the building gave way to an inviting child-friendly shop highlighted with bright colors.
Not much has changed during the week since McGuire bought the shop from Leroy Mcghee, Jr., the original owner of the business. Mcghee started the store with his son and daughter, Miracole, who the store is named after. They decided to set up shop in the building, located at 20830 Holt Ave., behind , which is owned by Mcguire’s husband, Tim, and his business, McGuire Mechanical.
After opening the store, another business endeavor had Mcghee stretched in putting time into Miracole’s, so McGuire helped run the store, and eventually McGuire and Liebfried decided to buy it from him.
The duo say they don’t plan on keeping everything the same. McGuire, who’s also an independent travel agent, and her grandson attempted to find the perfect look during this past week by moving things around. They also plan on repainting the store and they're thinking of turning the back portion into a coffee shop with the purchase of a new, fancy coffee maker. Greeting cards may also be added to the shop in the future.
However, the foundation of candy and kids built by Mcghee will remain the same, only expanded upon to bring in customers of all ages.
“Our plan is to keep all of the stuff they had for the kids but add more things directed at adults,” McGuire said. “Like truffles, hand-made candies, cookies and vintage drinks.”
McGuire plans on finding local vendors who can offer unique, high-quality, preferably all natural and great tasting products to build the store’s inventory. Lately, she has been ordering a lot of candies that were popular in the 1950’s, and just got in some old fashioned ICB Root Beer and Orange Crush in the bottle.
“It has been going over really well with adults,” McGuire said. “It brings back a lot of memories from when they were growing up.”
She’s also busy with promotions and marketing the business, using a grass-roots technique to get the word out about Miracole’s Candy Shoppe. And McGuire has some young friends who are willing to help.
The neighborhood children are putting up fliers in area parks and businesses in exchange for free candy. The fliers—when returned to the shop—guarantee the customer a free piece of candy. The kid whose fliers appear the most in the shop also gets free candy.
Because of the constant presence of area children, she also has a petition going with the city of Lakeville to get a stop sign put in front of the store. She needs 300 signees to get the sign.
They are also working on a website, which should be active soon. The website will not only be a marketing tool, but will be an extension of the store on the web. Customers will soon be able to buy gourmet candies and put together custom candy baskets right from the website.
The duo is also taking ideas for new products that customers would like to see offered in the store and online. They are already working on getting more sugar-free candies, which were requested by many of the seniors who have made their way into the shop. Flexibility and responding to customer suggestion, McGuire said, is the store’s major advantage over bigger candy sellers in the area like Cub Foods and Target.
Eventually, McGuire would like to be making enough to hire someone to run the shop. Her husband Tim and she have their eye on retirement and traveling around the country in the couple’s motor home. But for now they plan on getting someone who can run the shop later into the evening and on the weekends.
“Mary and I cannot work seven days a week. We are too old,” McGuire said as she smiled. “Mary thinks we should be at church anyway.”
Business has been pretty good so far. Area events, like the Farmer’s Market, have helped bring in more customers. Hot days also drive in customers looking for cool drinks and ice cream treats. Reasonable prices in the store, which range from three cents to $3, are also a drawing point for local customers who are on a budget.
McGuire also doesn’t plan on moving the shop from the building any time soon.
“We own the building, so I think I can get a pretty good deal on rent,” McGuire said with a laugh. “I would be better on main street, but with the rent there we wouldn’t be able to make it.”
And she may be right. Another candy store has tried its luck on main street only to go out of business a short while later. Right now, the only possible move would be trading positions with her husband’s business. If the store does well, she would move into the more visible position that McGuire Mechanical currently occupies, but for now she is happy where she is on Holt Avenue, just off of main street.
“If I say we are behind Ace Hardware,” McGuire said. “Everyone knows where that is.”