Maple City Candy Company closing Monmouth store

Robert Blackford/Editor

After almost 15 years of doing business in the Monmouth area, Maple City Candy Company/Coconuts regretfully announced the closing of its Monmouth store. Maple City Candy Company recently halted plans of remodeling the location and decided on its closure due to project estimates, a sagging economy, and a change in owner priorities. Focus will now shift to the new Aledo location.

The majority of the 15 employees at Maple City Candy were notified Monday, April 13, of the closure. Several of those have been offered positions at the Aledo store and restaurant.

Coconuts, the adjoining restaurant will close May 3 while Maple City Candy will stay open until liquidation or the transfer of inventory and equipment is complete. A time period for that is expected to be less than 120 days. Disposition of the four buildings that comprise the complex has yet to be determined, and the lease of a fifth is not being renewed.

Owners John and Diane Kesinger relocated the store to Monmouth in 1994 and expanded the retail store several times in the last 14 years. Several other buildings in the area were also restored, and Maple City Candy led a retail resurgence in the late 90s which included the closing and renovating of Markey Alley. In 2002 the Kesingers opened Coconuts, a 65-seat Tropical themed restaurant.

In 2004 the owners purchased the 140-year-old former Button House from the City of Aledo. In May of 2008, a $1 million restoration project was completed and the Kesingers opened The Livermore, a three-story retail and restaurant complex. Because of its partnering with state and local governments, The Livermore has received several Illinois Main Street Awards and state recognition. Its impact helped to land Aledo a nomination from the National Trust Foundation for Best Small American town.

In a written statement, owner John Kesinger states that the decision comes with great deliberation and sadness. “For a long time, Maple City Candy has become a tradition to a lot of local kids and parents, and the loss of that deeply sorrows Diane and I, put the attempt to commit to two locations has but a great demand on our time and resources. Our hope is that the City of Monmouth will continue to realize the importance of its downtown area and will work towards its betterment."