St. Charles business owner celebrates 40 years
The Warehouse Antique Shoppe and Confectionary located in downtown St. Charles is celebrating 40 years in business this year.
It is the second longest surviving store currently next to Blue Goose and has endured several periods of economic downturn, such as the recent recession.
“The one thing I think helps is to own your own building,” said Peggy Spear, owner of the shop.
She said the shop is located in a nice area on the corner of Riverside and Cedar Avenue with a lot of foot traffic and supportive customers.
“There hasn’t been a day we’ve been open when we didn’t have a customer,” Spear said.
She and her husband opened the shop in 1972. Her husband passed away two years ago, but Spears said she’ll continue running the business.
“I’m going to stay here as long as I can,” Spear said. “... I don’t plan to retire. ... I just don’t what I would do without (the shop).”
Her daughter, Mari Wittum, owns and runs the adjoining candy shop and she said Wittum’s never missed paying the rent.
The Confectionary offers nostalgic, novelty candy and hand-dipped chocolates.
Mari’s husband, Alec Wittum, said what the candy store is really selling is memories to help people reconnect with their youth because the kind of candy they offer is not easily found anymore.
Some of the varieties of candies include Satellite Wafer, Rock Candy, Licorice Pipes, Mary Jane’s and Pop Rocks.
The antique furniture section of the store is currently decorated for the holidays.
The family has long been involved with the community.
In the early 90s, the Spears along with other business owners spoke out against a proposed IDOT speed limit increase in downtown St. Charles.
The owners believed the increased speed limit would adversely affect the business community.
Peggy had been heavily involved in the St. Charles Chamber of Commerce and her husband volunteered for the city’s Plan Commission for about 30 years.
Alec is a teacher at Geneva High School and Mari currently works for the local nonprofit Suicide Prevention Services.
Mari was a founding member of the Friends of Downtown Partnership which is now known at the Downtown St. Charles Partnership.
About Peggy Spear
Years in town 60
Age more than 80
Family Daughter, Mari and a son-in-law
Favorite candy Chocolate
Philosophy on business “You have to be kind to people when they come in,” Spear said. “There are all kinds of people and there have been very few who weren’t nice. But even when that happens, you have to bite your tongue and put the customer first if you expect to run a business.”
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