When it comes to one-stop shops for fresh nuts and sweet tooth-satisfying delicacies, Peoria has had one in its backyard for over a century strong — and it’s only looking to grow.
Located in downtown Peoria on Main Street, The Nut House is a historic candy shop that has been serving Peorians and is one of few businesses left on the block.
Jane Scott, owner of The Nut House and its sister store Jane’s Sweet Addictions, has been running the shop for four and a half years.
The shop sells roasted nuts, chocolates, candies and more. Some best-selling products include triple dipped malt balls, chocolate-covered peanuts and roasted cashews.
The Nut House is only open for a few days a week and has been working hard throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The downtown area has not recovered,” Scott said. “I am the only one on the block. Big business has not returned downtown; Caterpillar, Ameren, AT&T, the law offices, none of them have been back 100 percent.”
However, for The Nut House, Scott has been seeing success from local support for small businesses.
“Individual people have been reaching out to us, giving us special orders … people really tried to shop local and support us like they never have in the past,” Scott said.
Scott has been working at festivals, pop-up markets and events to help get The Nut House’s name back into the community. Jane’s Sweet Addictions, located in Northwoods Mall, has been Scott’s ticket to helping her other shop.
Jane’s Sweet Addictions was a vendor at the Taste of Bradley this fall, served lemonade, shaved ice and dippin’ dots.
Scott is hopeful that The Nut House will see steady traffic again soon.
“A critical part of our business is the Spring Concert Series, which is put on by schools and the arts,” Scott said. “They bring busloads of kids down, and of course they get a few dollars to spend at the candy store for tradition. They usually line up out the door. We have missed that two years in a row now.”
Scott wants the Peoria community to remember the feeling of being a kid in a candy store through her shops. Being one of the only stores with candy, chocolates and fudge all made in-house, Scott is hoping people fall back into tradition.
“I think what’s important about my store compared to the trends changing is that I know you can go to Sam’s Club or Amazon and have things dropped off at your door, but nothing replaces that feeling of walking into a candy store,” Scott said. “I am trying to keep it alive and everybody says they remember it as a child … but it’s still here.”
Visit The Nut House from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Wednesday through Friday for some sweet treats.