PIQUA — The cravings of every sweet tooth in the downtown district can now be satisfied at This & That’s Candy on Main.
The locally owned store, located at 408 N. Main St., began offering soft-open access to customers on Tuesday, and will hold its official grand opening event on Friday at 11 a.m. to coincide with Piqua’s Christmas on the Green. Complimentary fresh popcorn will be served to guests.
Holiday hours will be 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week, with new hours to be announced in January.
The store’s owners, Tom and Cindy Lillicrap, said that the idea for the store stemmed from a sustained interest in the small-town business model of yesteryear.
“I’ve always had a fascination with vintage Piqua,” Tom Lillicrap said. “The old five-and-dime, penny candy feel is something you just don’t have anymore. Cindy and I went to a candy store a few years ago, and we both thought it was such a fun concept. I’ve always wanted to do it, and the location was right and the time was right.”
The Lillicraps worked alongside Chris Schmiesing, city planner for City of Piqua, and Lorna Swisher, executive director of Mainstreet Piqua, to bring the endeavor to fruition, stressing the importance of establishing This & That’s as a mainstay in the downtown district.
“I didn’t want to be off the main drag or at the mall — it was important to us to have a presence in downtown Piqua,” Lillicrap said. “I told Lorna last year, ‘I’m really looking for a building. I really want to open a store downtown. Lorna really went after it and brought the idea to Chris. He and I sat down, and he told me, ‘I think it’s a great idea. I think the city needs it.’ We looked at several places that weren’t quite right, maybe due to not being big enough or other reasons, but when this space became available, we moved forward.”
This & That’s will offer hundreds of candy varieties, including the option to fill out a $5, $10, or $15 box from over 100 bulk candy options. The store also boasts a craft soda wall, featuring 57 beverage options to mix and match.
Products unique to This and That’s stock include merchandise from the locally owned Rosebud’s Ranch and Garden, as well as a line of snacks from Walnut Creek products.
“Rosebud’s local to town, and they make all of their own seasonings and rubs,” Lillicrap confirmed. “The variety we have of those products is more than any other place around. I was also told by the Walnut Creek rep that nowhere else in town offers many of our Walnut Creek products.”
This & That’s also features a section of vintage toys, including such items as Whoopee cushions and the original Lite Brite.
“That was another example where I just wanted to offer something different,” Lillicrap said. “Kids can come in and see these toys, and find something different from what they’re used to at home.”
Present at This & That’s Tuesday soft open was 102-year-old Piqua resident Mary Black, who at age 17, was employed at five-and-dime G.C. Murphy for $9 a week. G.C. Murphy once inhabited the space on North Main Street now occupied by Barclay’s.
“The store was divided into counters and sections,” Black said. “They had one section of candy, but another might be hardware or apparel. The candy was all kept in canisters back then, all lined up. You had to take a little scoop to go in and get what they wanted, weigh it up, and put it in a sack.”
On the candy selection at This & That’s, Black admitted, “There’s really no comparison. I hope they do very well.”
“I’ve run a landscaping company here in town for 17 years, so this has been a whole different deal, but it’s all come together,” Lillicrap said. “I can’t say enough about the City of Piqua. They’ve been very helpful through the whole project, and it’s been tremendous.”
“It’s been very exciting and very smooth,” Cindy said. “It’s been very fun to see people come in and say, ‘Oh, my grandma used to have that,’ or ‘I remember having that when I was a kid.’”
“We want this store to be a stable spot where people come to town just to see it,” Lillicrap said. “We want to be a destination in our own right, but at the same time, we just want people to come to downtown Piqua. The city has a lot of stuff coming, and we want to see it continue to grow.”
For more information, find This & That’s Candy on Main on Facebook.