Karen Irons, owner of Maurie’s of Pekin Candy-Coffee-Ice Cream at 522 Court St., Pekin, hopes the store will remain a landmark of Pekin’s business community.
However, she will not be able to continue operating the business and has put it up for sale. She cited illness as the motivation for her decision to sell.
“My doctor and I had a meeting this week, and I’m no longer allowed to work for health reasons,” she said. “My health has declined, and my doctor has wanted me not to work for quite a while. My husband and I made the very hard choice to put Maurie’s up for sale.”
Maurie’s has been in business under various owners since 1941. The store sells baked goods, store-made chocolates, coffee, caramel corn and old-fashioned candies. Maurie’s barista Nate Wernowsky expressed sadness at the end of an era for the iconic business, but hopes that a new owner will bring new life to the store.
“It’s defintely sad for the older generation that grew up with (Maurie’s),” he said. “From what I hear, it was something special. I hope someone will purchase it and make it special again.”
The store’s last day of business under its current ownership will be July 31. Although Irons has not planned any sort of special event for her last day in business, she plans to offer various discounts on merchandise in the days leading up to her retirement as an entrepreneur. She recommended the store to a potential buyer because much of the current staff is willing to stay on and continue making high-quality candies and baked goods.
“Maurie’s, under my ownership, started a bakery,” she said. “We sell the best baked goods. We sell cookies and cheesecakes and cupcakes that are literally the best (in the area).”
The new owner will need to find new premises, Irons added. She does not own the building in which the store is currently located. The building is also in need of extensive renovations to bring it up to Tazewell County Health Department standards.
“There is so much wrong with the building that the Health Department will not let a new owner open a new business without bringing everything ... up to code,” said Irons. “(That) would require the new owner to do a lot of work with the Health Department.”
Maurie’s Fine Candies is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from noon to 5 p.m. on Sundays.