Current business owners increase investment in downtown Oxford
By Steven Hoffman
The Candy Case occupied one of the best and most visible spaces in downtown Oxford until it closed earlier this year.
Almost immediately, the team behind LOLA’s Boutique, the popular women’s boutique at 57 South Third Street, had interest in opening their own candy store in the building at 1 South Third Street.
“We all loved the idea of a candy store in town,” explained Debra Kline, who partners with her sister, Nancy Ware Sapp, and Deb Berkalez on LOLA’s.
After a successful first year with the boutique, they decided to develop a plan for a candy store. They then embarked on a remodel of the inside of the building to support the vision that they have for it.
Kline said that they want the candy store to have an old-time feel to it, and they want to create a different shopping experience for customers—especially children.
Kline grew up in Nottingham and fondly recalls walking to a local store for candy. While working at LOLA’s, all three of the owners have noticed the large number of children in town who might enjoy a regular trip to a candy store.
Kline said that they are working hard to get the new store open. It will be called Toot Sweets, and it could debut as early as September. Kline said that the name of the store references a nickname—Toot—that she had as a child, as well as the name of a song from the musical “Chitty-Chitty Bang Bang.”
While plans are still being developed, Kline said that they do want to offer homemade gelato at Toot Sweets. Several people who will work at Toot Sweets are training to perfect the dessert.
Donna Hosler, the executive director of Oxford Mainstreet Inc., said that it’s very fortunate to have current business owners who have been successful that now want to increase their investment in Oxford’s downtown.
In addition to the work that the LOLA's team is doing with Toot Sweets, the Sawmill Grill's ownership is working on plans for the space next door to the restaurant that was previously occupied by Limelife Planners. Limelife Planners has moved to 13 South Third Street.