John and Patty Gruber were sitting around one night asking themselves: What WOULD we do if we won the lottery?
For Patty, the answer was easy: open a candy store.
After a couple of years of planning (without any lottery proceeds) and candy shopping, they opened Kazolly's Sweet Shop in downtown Lakeville on Dec. 1.
If you ate it when you were a kid or are a kid now, they are bound to have it: Razzles. Dots. Candy cigarettes. Wax bottles. Zotz. Fruit-striped gum. Lemonheads. Jawbreakers. Pez. Chiclets (even the mini ones). Cow tales. And that's just getting started.
"We are constantly hearing people say they haven't seen those candies in years," Patty said. "Grown-ups enjoy coming in here as much as the kids do."
Candy lines the walls -- from the expensive Swiss chocolates to the less-expensive candy necklaces and bracelets. And there's more candy in glass jars on the counter that can be weighed so customers can get as little -- or as much -- as their sweet tooth demands. If you like a different kind of sweets, a pastry chef in the back has been working since dawn to make cookies, scones, truffles, decorated pretzels and other treats. The store also puts together party trays or boxes of pastries -- tied with festive ribbon.
John says Patty, whose business card reads "Boss Lady," didn't think twice about opening the shop. "She'd remember when we were kids and all that cool stuff," he said.
John, who gets "Boss Man" billing on his card, is the numbers guy behind the store, which sits next to Erickson drug. He has a finance background and works full time as director of finance at the Marriott hotel in downtown Minneapolis. Patty, who came up with the eyeball-popping bright-green walls with huge colorful circles on them, is the creative energy behind the store. It's a combination that seems to work. "We both really wanted to open our own business," he said. "It's long hours, but it's different when it's your business. It doesn't seem much like work."
The store's name is a combination of their kids' names: Zak is 11 and Holly is 9. The kids said they come to the store after school when they don't have something going on and do homework. Sometimes, they even help out.
It's a small operation. Patty works at the store full time, and they have a pastry chef and a part-time employee, who happens to be a neighbor of the Grubers' and an occasional baby-sitter.
"If we found the right location, we'd love to expand," Patty said. "I think every small town should have a sweet shop."
Suzanne Ziegler • 952-882-4938