After 18 years of running IB Nuts & Fruit Too on Front Street in Downtown Washington, Margaret Horn will pass on the torch and retire.
Horn took over the business after it had been open only one year.
The new owners are the mother-daughter team of Barb Hillermann and Kristy Stoyer, both of Washington.
The ladies took over the business Sept. 1. For now, Horn is still at the shop, helping with the transition.
Hillermann will run the shop day to day and Stoyer will oversee marketing.
Stoyer is a 2000 Washington High School graduate and a 2004 Webster University graduate. Her husband, Rodney, knew Horn and learned she was looking to retire. He told his wife about the opportunity.
“I thought it was a charming little store,” Kristy Stoyer said, “but I knew I couldn’t run it by myself.”
Stoyer asked her mom to join her, who said she “jumped at the chance.”
“This is right down the alley of things that I like to do,” Hillermann said. “I love people. I love the public and I love to talk.”
Hillermann and Stoyer said people love what Horn has done with the shop, so they won’t be changing much — just adding a few things.
The new owners plan to bring back running routes. Horn used to do it, but quit some time ago. The ladies will make appointments with local businesses, at their request, to sell to employees.
“A lot of people said they missed the routes,” Stoyer said.
Additionally, the women will deliver baskets to residences in Washington for free.
In regard to product line, the ladies will be expanding sugar and gluten-free items, and more gourmet soups, coffees, teas, salsas and dips will be added.
“If people are entertaining they can have a place to stop and get everything they need,” Stoyer said.
Hostess gifts also are available.
Stoyer noted that when a gift basket is ordered, people can bring in their own items to mix in with the chocolates and Hillermann will put it all together.
Unique gifts also will be added to the shop.
Stoyer is working on a Web site, www.ib-nuts.com, where products and gift baskets can be ordered.
The shop also has a Facebook page, facebook.com/ibnutsandfruittoo, with holiday reminders, product photos and gift basket ideas.
Hillermann and Stoyer have started a fundraising program for churches, schools and other groups. The groups can sell items and receive a portion of the proceeds.
So far, Hillermann said the transition is going well.
“My favorite part is talking to people, being creative and eating the chocolates,” Hillermann said.
Horn said she’s excited about the new owners and changes.
“They are terrific,” she said. “They are enthusiastic, very capable, and desirous of providing excellent, friendly service for each customer. Barbara (Hillermann) is already doing a beautiful job with basket making. I am very grateful and happy to pass the business on to them.”
Horn said she is looking forward to a slower pace, spending more time with grandchildren and family and enjoying the next chapter of her life.
“Our customers have been such a pleasure for me through the years,” said said. “I have appreciated all that the merchants committee, Downtown Washington Inc., the Chamber and the tourism committee have done to enhance and support the Downtown merchants.”
Stoyer and Hillermann said they will continue to be active in the many Downtown Washington functions.
For now, hours at the shop will remain the same, though they will be expanded during the busy holiday season.
Hours are Mondays through Fridays from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The shop’s phone number is 636-390-4438.