A trip to the mom and pop store on the corner in 1973 turned into a business deal for John Kelley.
John says, “And one thing led to another. And I said well, I’ll keep it for awhile and 42 years later, I still have it.”
But as John became older and closer to retirement, he passed the store down to his son bill a few years ago, keeping the business in the family.
Bill Rose says, “We didn’t really want to see someone else take over the business because it would change the business. Because they live so close, we really wanted to keep it Kelley’s Korner hopefully for quite a long time.”
But both John and Bill say it’s been hard keeping up with the big chain stores.
Rose says, “They run promotions and things that we just can’t get. However, some of our vendors have been really good with us in offering products that aren’t available to the other chains.”
And now Kelley’s Korner is expanding, offering soft serve Hershey’s ice cream to customers.
John says, “Soft served has been in the works for 30 years – I wanted to do it. And he’s the one who’s pushing it.”
Rose says, “We’ve talked about putting ice cream on this side of the building for about 30 years. So after the last couple years, a culmination of things have really come together and we made it happen.”
They hope to keep the business in the family for many more years to come, offering the same family-friendly, personal experience they’ve offered for more than 40 years.
Rose says, “We’ve got third generation folks coming in here. We still have penny candy like we did 43 years ago. We carry some of the nostalgia candy items, and we do see a lot of customers repeating with their whole families, which is wonderful. Because we’re all really a family here.”
John says, “All the people come in and now they’re grown. And they’re bringing their grandkids in and it’s just amazing to see.”
Kelley says now that the store is in good hands with his son, he’s looking forward to traveling.
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