Flesor’s Candy Kitchen


When Gus Flesor sailed from the Peloponnese region of Greece to Ellis Island, NY, in the early 1900s, he brought with him a rich cultural heritage of Greek cuisine, and specifically, a historic Greek love of sweets. Flesor and two other notable Greek immigrants, Peter Vriner and George Vaky (among many others),  eventually settled in the Champaign-Urbana area and in Tuscola, where they founded confectionaries together.  Eventually, Gus Flesor decided he wanted to own his own store. Flesor moved west to work on the growing railway expansion and earned enough money to buy his partners out. By 1913, Flesor's Candy Kitchen was born.

Today, after three generations of ownership, Flesor's Candy Kitchen is still going strong in the heart of downtown Tuscola.  Gus Flesor's son, Paul Flesor, ran the store from the mid 1960's until he closed the operation in the late 1970's.  His young daughters Ann and Devon, and son Scott, worked after school in the "store" as it was affectionately known, alongside their mother Betty.  Devon Flesor Story, who currently owns the business with her husband Bob Story, describes her father as a "crazy Greek guy who yelled and screamed a lot." Family rows aside,  Flesor's had established itself as one of the finest providers of hand-dipped chocolates, and hand-made caramels, sweets and fountain sodas in Central Illinois.  The clientele was used to the family bickering.

After Devon's parents closed the confectionary, the building sat abandoned for more than 20 years. Devon and Ann both pursued careers in academia and education and had no intentions of going back into the family candy business.  Until, that is, Ann Flesor Beck saw a "For Sale" sign outside the old, decrepit building.  Over a glass of wine or two, Ann convinced Devon to quit her job and put the shop back together.  They bought back their stored antiques from the original early 1900's store (they were in storage), received funding from the city of Tuscola, and did a lot of manual labor to get the building refurbished.  In 2004, Flesor's Candy Kitchen reopened, and the crowds followed.  Since then, Flesor's has received national and statewide media attention for its old-fashioned charm, top-quality candy, sodas and ice cream. Flesor's also serves breakfast and lunch, because, Devon says, "...the people of Tuscola would run us out of town with our heads on spikes if we didn't."

Ann Flesor Beck retired in 2022, leaving Devon and Bob in charge. Bob, who left his own job to join the family business, is now chief candy cooker and particularly proud of his peanut brittle.
"It's a must-have if you come here," says Devon. She relishes his new ideas because after so many years running a restaurant six days a week, she says it's easy to get into the "that's how it has always been done" mentality.   Her employees -- many of whom have been at Flesor's for years -- also keep her on her toes.

Despite the long hours, Devon has zero plans to retire anytime soon. "I love working. Is that weird? Yeah, it's probably weird."

Read all about the story of Flesor's Candy Kitchen in this book by Ann Flesor Beck: