Jillybeans candy shop closing
FARGO - When Lynn Sanborn bought the candy shop in the West Acres mall in 2003, she renamed the store Jillybeans in honor of her daughter, Jill Liebelt, who manages the store and operates it alongside her mother.
FARGO – When Lynn Sanborn bought the candy shop in the West Acres mall in 2003, she renamed the store Jillybeans in honor of her daughter, Jill Liebelt, who manages the store and operates it alongside her mother.
But now, after more than 11 years in business, Jillybeans candy and gift shop is closing.
Sanborn and Liebelt say several factors played a role in their decision to close, including increases in the cost of doing business and competition from larger operations.
“It’s kind of a changing world out there,” Sanborn said.
“It (Fargo) has been a great town to work with, but with the Internet and the big-box stores, it’s just hard for a small store to compete,” she said.
Their plan had been to close at the end of December when their lease is up, but Liebelt said with inventory going quicker than expected, the store could be shuttered by this weekend.
After the candy store leaves, the space between J.C. Penney and Herberger’s will be taken up early next year by the Broadway Shoe Co., which will also continue to operate its downtown location, said Alissa Adams, vice president of marketing for West Acres.
“We’ve thoroughly enjoyed having them (Jillybeans) as a tenant, and we wish them the best of luck with whatever their future endeavor may be,” Adams said.
Liebelt said that over the years, Jillybeans experimented with different gift offerings aimed at a variety of age groups.
But they quickly realized who their core customers were.
“We very much cater towards kids,” Liebelt said.
“For a couple years we tried things like (coffee) mugs for adults. But that didn’t work well,” she said, adding that their gifts and toys are aimed primarily at kids 10 and younger.
After putting so much time and effort into the business, Liebelt said it is a bittersweet time for her family, including her father, Jeff, who did the bookkeeping for the candy shop.
On the one hand, she said she really enjoyed working with her mom.
“At the same time,” she added, “maybe we can have more than two days off in a row to do a family vacation.”
Sanborn said she will miss the store and her clients.
“Every time somebody asks me about it (the closing), I want to cry,” she said.
“You get so close to your customers. I think, ‘Where are they going to go? Who’s going to take care of some of these people?’ ” Sanborn said.
Post candy world
Sanborn, who left a 13-year career in the banking industry to open the candy store, said she’s unsure what she will try next.
Liebelt, who will soon turn 35, also hasn’t pinned down exactly what she will do going forward.
“It’s been kind of hard to pursue other avenues and jobs until we finish up with this,” she said. One thing she knows for sure: satisfying her sweet tooth won’t be as easy in the future.
Although they had countless varieties of candy to choose from, Liebelt said she and others who worked at the store had their favorites.
“Mine was sea salt caramels and Swedish fish, Liebelt said, explaining that the latter was a red gummi fish.
“They’re different than most gummis,” she said. “They’re made differently.”