MARYSVILLE – The building that housed the old city museum is being turned into an old-fashioned candy shop, including coffee for just 5 cents.
Steve and Lynn Reid are going to run the store as part of their HR Project, named after Steve’s dad, Hugh Reid, who also was “a real community guy.”
The Reids now have five nonprofit ministry operations around town that help people in need. The best-known one is probably Women at the Well, an early intervention program for women in crisis.
The Whistle Stop will have a soft opening on 3rd Street Dec. 23. Visitors need to bring their cameras so they can take pictures with Santa from noon to 3 p.m. Lynn will be selling some items starting at 9 a.m. And 84 pounds of fudge will be given away that day.
Eventually, people will be able to watch the fudge being made, along with caramel. It also will have ice cream, milkshakes, root beer floats, kettle korn, along with all types of candies. It’s also Huckleberry Junction, with numerous items for sale related to that fruit.
“I’ve always wanted in my retirement years to have a candy and ice cream store because I’m a people person, and I thought it would be fun,” Lynn said.
Since they started this venture, the Reids have learned that the building for a short while years ago housed a candy store. That’s why there is a room inside with windows where fudge was made.
They hadn’t planned to make fudge, but they are now. They met a man in Oregon who is sharing his trade secrets.
“He gave us tips on how to make it the best. Use Costco butter,” he told her, and he said he wasn’t kidding because he’d tried them all.
The man even is going to come up and help them with their first batches of fudge.
“It’s weird our life is this way,” she said. “We’ve met the most incredible people. I know this is a blessed decision.”
Lynn said she originally thought the business would be separate from their ministry.
“But God was like, ‘Don’t be silly. This is what I want you to be doing. We can’t keep God out of anything,” she said.
But the candy is not all they will be doing there. The sign on the door says, “Confections, Collections and Connections.”
So, along with goodies, in the back part of the building donated estate sale items will be sold. The HR Project raised $3,000 for the Irma’s Way after-school tutoring program last summer selling such items. They liked it so much, they stayed with it, and are now helping with estate sales. Donations they receive will be put in the Rummage Room at the Whistle Stop and sold for donations only. Proceeds will go to volunteers who help out.
Most of the volunteers now are connected to Watchmen, a street ministry in town.
Brad Walser is one of the Watchmen. They are best-known for their Share Jesus campaign, in which on Thursday nights they walk the streets and minister to the homeless.
Walser, who grew up in Marysville, said after 35 years of using drugs, he has been clean and sober for five.
To celebrate recovery, “I have to give it back to keep it. God put it on my heart” to help others, he said, adding he drives people to doctor and dentist appointments and Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholic Anonymous meetings for free. “He gets people where they’re supposed to go,” Reid said.
Reid said downtown Marysville has been cleaned up in the past few months, thanks to police and the Watchmen.
“They can talk to them at their level,” Reid said, adding the Watchmen even look like the homeless because they’ve been there. “They know their game.”
Reid said his clients at Women at the Well used to be hassled by homeless. Albertsons was another problem area.
“But it went away” after the Watchmen got involved, Reid said.
Walser said the Watchmen tell homeless that they need to go to Spokane, Seattle or Port Angeles, where they can get the help they need. And he can help make the needed connections.
“Man the whole area cleaned up,” Reid said.