Rockford business

New Rockford business has long family history

June 18, 2009 // 0 Comments

One of Rockford’s newest businesses may well be one of its oldest. The Sweet Tooth, run by Tracie Riebschleger with the help of her family, is born of a family business started by Greek immigrants in 1906. The Koinis family began selling popcorn, hot peanuts-and cigarettes-from wagons shortly after they arrived in America, and members of the family have been doing it ever since (except for the cigarettes). Tracie was drawn to the fascinating vending wagons when she was a child of three or four. The family across the street owned them, and when she saw the wagons coming in after a festival or carnival, she asked her mother if she could cross the street and get a closer look. Her mother always told her no. She was allowed to play with the boy who lived there, though. They would catch bees together. Eventually Tracie’s family moved away. Years later, when both were working a summer job at a harness racing downs, she began to date the guy who worked the wagon and whose family owned the concessions there. She didn’t make the conection until he took her to his house-across the street from her old home. Now Tracie is working the family trade, selling carmel popcorn and apples made in the shop at 53 E. Bridge by the original Koinis recipe. It’s not even written down. The neighbor she ended up marrying is local businessman Ron Riebschleger, and he holds the family recipe. Much of the equipment in the store is also handed down and dates to the 40s and 50s. For those who love old-fashioned, authentic treats, this store will be tops. The Sweet Tooth offers a wide variety of popcorns, a Chicago-style that is better, some say, than the stuff you buy in Chicago. The cheese popcorn is also made completely by scratch. There is fountain pop, and Tracie’s favorite, shaved ice. With 26 varieties and two in sugar free, there are plenty of flavors to choose from. Kids like the Tiger’s Blood because of the deep color. Also popular is Crazy Eight, a mix of eight flavors that should not taste good together but do. Remember Fizzies? You put the tablets in a glass or bottle of water and have carbonated, […]