There’s a New Sweet Spot Downtown – No Ifs, Ands, or Buts About It
Eau Claire has a new candy store: Ifs and Buts Candy and Nuts
Rebecca Mennecke, photos by Andrea Paulseth
If “ifs” and “buts” were candy and nuts, wouldn’t it be a merry ... well, pandemic?
For Greg and Tammy Clark, their new candy store – Ifs and Buts Candy and Nuts (331 Riverfront Terrace, Eau Claire) – is an opportunity to bring something sweet to their hometown of Eau Claire amid a time that seems nothing but sour.
“We want it to be a place that people come in and it’s happy and fun,” said Greg Clark, “and it makes adults feel like kids and kids happy to be kids.”
The Clark family – including Greg, Tammy, and their three sons, Kris, Zane, and Chayton – tossed around a few different names for their sweet shop: Eau Claire Candy Shop, River City Candy Store, Sawdust City – whatever they could think of – before settling on “Ifs and Buts Candy and Nuts.”
“I threw out ‘Ifs and Buts Candy and Nuts’ as a joke,” Clark said, “but the more that we went along with the process of getting the store opened, the more that we liked it.”
We want it to be a place that people come in and it’s happy and fun, and it makes adults feel like kids and kids happy to be kids.
Ifs and Buts candy and nuts, eau claire
The shop’s name derives from the famous idiom: “If ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ were candy and nuts, wouldn’t it be a Merry Christmas?” which is attributed to Don Meredith, an American football player and commentator. It’s a saying Clark’s grandmother frequently used, and feels personal and special to the family, who want to make Ifs and Buts a close-knit, family-owned business.
Even before it opened the store was getting positive attention: Last fall, it won the Innovative Idea Award in the annual Jump-Start Downtown Business Competition sponsored by Downtown Eau Claire Inc.
The store – which is next to Silly Serrano Mexican Restaurant at the corner of Riverfront Terrace and Madison Street – hosted a soft grand opening on Feb. 2. Inside, customers can peruse the shop’s popular packaged products, international candy, fan-favorite candy bars and Mayana Chocolate, and nostalgic candies such as Abba-Zaba and Turkish Taffy, as well as candy necklaces. Ifs and Buts also features a large selection of saltwater taffy and bulk candies by the pound. They sell colorful lollipops that seem right out of Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory, and craft sodas that are homemade in Minnesota.
In the future, the family plans to make items such as bon bons, truffles, turtles, fudge, and chocolate-covered nuts. “That’s what we do it for,” Clark said, “is the kids that are just jumping up and down looking at all the stuff that there is. … There’s no place that gives you a sense of (being) a kid in a candy store, and we really wanted that.”
The family hopes to make the store a generational tradition, encouraging locals to stop by the Eau Claire candy store while at the farmers market or visiting downtown.
“We love our little community,” Clark said, “and we want to get to know everybody, and we think this is a great opportunity to create that experience for other people.”
Check out more about the shop on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ifsandbutsec.