New store offers locally-made gifts, candy bouquets

Karen’s Candy and Gifts owner Karen Elliott is thrilled with her shop location at 8450 Algoma Avenue NE, Suite C near Little Sack Grocery off Ten Mile Road. She is also happy to open a shop that offers a unique product—candy and silk floral bouquets—and locally-crafted items for gifts or home. Her store opened on August 2, but they are celebrating a grand opening now.

Karen’s Candy and Gifts owner Karen Elliott with Jill Nelson, who works with Elliott in the shop. John Campbell, Nelson’s father, is a woodcarver and has handmade wood gifts on display and for sale in the store. Elliott is interested in displaying more locally-made art for sale.

“Karen’s Candy and Gifts is striving to put our Michigan craftsmen to work,” said Elliott. “We have a lot of talent in our area and we will be featuring more unique items and showcasing those talents.”

Elliott said she purchased the Candy Bouquet franchise as a way to put herself and others to work after she tired of the commute to her long-time job of working as an office manager for an optometric practice. She originally had plans to start a business offering healthy foods and drinks with areas for parents to exercise while their children played in safety and in plain view of the parent. While the deal for the building fell through, Elliott still desired a way to help people, offering something unique.

“I was ready for a change of pace and to do something creative and helpful to people,” she explained. The bouquet franchise offers a product that is an alternative to traditional gifts and has a huge range. Candy Bouquet International, the parent company, offers hundreds of choices including; Christmas, birthday, Thanksgiving, graduation, get well, sympathy, just because, good luck, for him and for her and more. Custom orders are also offered and Elliott said one of her first orders was a sympathy basket with a specific theme.

“It’s not just candy,” Elliott explained of the product, pointing out bosses boxes, popcorn theme displays, tea bouquets, “thanks a million” cash arrangements, race car, humorous and more.

The candy and arrangement products are just part of Karen’s Candy and Gifts with the addition of locally made products for sale. Many of the items feature nature or religious images. A Michigan woodworking company supplies Karen’s with a variety of wooden Michigan-made items from cribbage boards, sling shots, attitude adjusters, whistles, and puzzle games to framed prints and thermometers. The father of co-worker and long-time family friend, Jill Nelson, is a wood carver and has items on display. Wooden bowls created from the burls of hardwood trees reflect the unusual grain of the wood and show the dedicated hours the handmade items require. A large, beautifully carved natural wood shelf and hand-carved walking sticks are on display at the shop.

Elliott describes her shop as family-oriented, uniquely fun and constantly changing. “Just like a kaleidoscope, you never know what to expect,” she said. “Candy bouquet is a business designed to be nothing but fun; a delivery to your door brings a smile to your face.” Elliott chose Rockford because it is a family-friendly town with tremendous potential for future business growth.

Karen’s Candy and Gifts is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The store phone number is (616) 863-9750. Craftspeople who are interested in having items on display are welcome to call and speak with Karen or email candybouquet6355@gmail,com or visit online at

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The Squire has been Rockford’s free weekly newspaper since 1871. Our loyal readership includes over fifteen thousand homes in the Rockford area, including the affluent Lakes area of Lake Bella Vista, Bostwick Lake and Silver Lake; Belmont, Blythefield, as well as Algoma, Courtland, Cannon and Plainfield Townships. The Squire is distributed through the U.S. Post Office every Thursday. We also deliver to in-town businesses and homes with paper carriers and news stands in our grocery stores and over thirty local shops.