BLACKFOOT – Paul Loomis won’t fudge on the opening date for his new store to be called the Candy Jar, on NW Main St., in downtown Blackfoot.
“I’m really hoping to open by (the Eastern Idaho State Fair Aug. 30 through Sept. 7),” Loomis said Monday afternoon. Loomis didn’t sugar-coat progress on getting the store finished. “Realistically, I’d say there’s a 40 percent chance of being open by then. We’re still getting the fixtures put in.”
Loomis, contractor Mike Smith, and several others were working hard all afternoon on the insides of the store Monday, which is beginning to look like a real shop rather than a construction site. The Loomis family has been working all summer on preparing the storefront on the corner of Main and Pacific, across from the Idaho Potato Museum.
The facade of the store was being painted Monday afternoon by Steve Allen of Allen Painting, a business that has painted many of the business frontages downtown as well as many other locations in the Blackfoot area. The building was half painted Monday and will be a light tan color.
The building has one of the most distinctive facades of all the old buildings in downtown with its two large round balls resting on the north and south corners of the building’s front, on the eaves above the second floor.
The building used to house a watering hole called the Corner Bar fronting on Main with the now-closed Fashion Barber Shop fronting on Pacific. There were two additional retail spaces next to the barber shop which have been empty for a long time.
Loomis has knocked out the walls between the four former business spaces and made the entire downstairs the space for his new candy store.
“We just got delivery of our hand dipping station,” Loomis said, pointing to the glass-front case for serving up Reed’s Dairy ice cream, one of the products the store will feature. The return of Reed’s ice cream to downtown Blackfoot is very welcome news for all those who’ve been missing the Reed’s ice cream cones once served up at Pappy’s two summers ago.
The Candy Jar will also feature caramels from the well-known Poppa’s Chocolates of Montpelier, which is as far east as one can go in Idaho and not be in Wyoming. The store will also serve the fabled chocolate truffles from Weiser Classic Candy in Weiser, which is as far as one can go in Idaho and not be in Oregon.
The store will also feature fresh fudge that the Loomis family and staff will make on site everyday, using recipes from the Calico Fudge Company.
Loomis served as Blackfoot’s mayor for four years, stepping down in January 2018. Before that, he spent 26 serving in the U.S. Army, retiring as a Lt. Colonel. Loomis grew up farming in northern California and Weiser before serving an LDS mission, marrying his childhood sweetheart Judy, and enlisting in the Army.
When the building on the corner of NW Main and Pacific was offered for sale, Loomis bought it last winter, seeing the opportunity for a family and tourist-friendly candy and ice cream business across from the potato museum, which has more than 25,000 visitors a year.