New store finds sweet spot downtown


If you have a sweet tooth, then the Sweet Tooth Candy Shack might just be the place for you.

Shannon Kimbrel, who owns a store by the same name in Hill City, plans to expand her business to Hays. She is sprucing up an empty storefront at 1012 Main, which was the location of Rock Good Book Store, which closed in 2011. Kimbrel hopes to open her shop within 60 days.

Kimbrel was painting the walls yellow, blue and pink last week and was preparing to set up a new counter. At the rear of the store, the walls already have been painted black. Black lights have been installed for an arcade area, which will include an air hockey table.

Kimbrel's favorite candy is Abba Zaba, which is taffy with peanut butter in the middle. She was traveling with her husband one day last year when she got hungry for her favorite treat and an idea popped into her head: She wanted to open a candy store.

Kimbrel's husband, Jimmy, agreed, and they opened the store in Hill City in October.

Kimbrel hopes to have approximately 800 varieties of candy in the Hays store. There will be candies available from days gone by, as far back as the 1920s.

Also available will be 24 flavors of snow cones and a cotton candy machine. Kimbrel also plans to make candy bouquet gift baskets.

Kimbrel's mother works at the Hill City store, and she has one employee so far for the Hays store, which already is drawing attention.

"They've been peeking through the windows," Kimbrel said.

The Hill City store has been doing good business, and Kimbrel hopes for more of the same at the Hays location.

"I figure everybody likes candy," she said. "No matter if the economy is up or down, they eat candy."

Kimbrel's husband owns and operates Get a Switch Tree Service in Hill City. It helped with financing the startup of a second store.

"I'm excited, don't think I'm nervous now," Kimbrel said. "I was (nervous) when I opened the first one. I already opened one, so I'm not nervous. I'm more excited."