Longtime downtown business to be sold by Larry and Bonnie Phillips after 24 years of ownership.
It's the end of an era in Storm Lake.
Larry and Bonnie Phillips, two of the most visible and active entrepreneurs in the Storm Lake business community, have decided to put their store, the Sugar Bowl Gift Shop, up for sale, and are looking forward to making a transition in life from selling gifts in The City Beautiful to selling products in other beautiful cities across the Hawkeye State.
The store, founded by Bonnie's mother in 1952, has been owned and operated by Larry and Bonnie since 1978, and the couple decided it was time to leave the retail business and begin new careers as traveling sales representatives across the state.
Bonnie began on-site training for her new position with other employees from around Iowa on Tuesday, and Larry will join his wife as the second half of a Phillips sales team once the Sugar Bowl is officially sold.
Larry, who helped his wife run the popular gift store and Hallmark business, said both felt it was simply time to move on to another phase of their lives.
"It's really just one of life's transitions," Larry said Tuesday night. "We think it's going to be a great change of pace for us. I think we just reached the point in our lives where we wanted to do something different, and this gives us an opportunity to do that. We've thoroughly enjoyed running the business, but it's something that we've thought about doing for a while, and we thought this was the time to do it."
Larry said he and his wife became more serious about selling the Sugar Bowl over the past six months, and said one reason for their decision was the large number of hours he and Bonnie were logging at their store every week.
"The retail business is a grind hour-wise, and we didn't want to have to spend another Christmas Day putting in hours at the store," Larry said. "We've worked for 24 straight Christmas Days, and we both thought it was time to stop and do something different."
Larry and Bonnie have already begun searching for a successor for the Sugar Bowl, as they have posted ads for their business in major newspapers such as the Des Moines Register and Fort Dodge Messenger.
They have also used the advertising service of the Hallmark Corporation to announce the availability of the store to an even larger audience throughout the Midwest, including the Minneapolis - St. Paul and Greater Des Moines metropolitan areas.
Despite the nationwide search, Larry said he and Bonnie would be thrilled to have a local businessperson step in and purchase the gift shop.
"It would be ideal if we could find somebody locally to take over the store," Larry said. "It would be great to have a local owner who knows about the tradition of the Sugar Bowl and how it's been a part of the Storm Lake community for so many years. We are simply keeping all options open right now."
The couple will continue to reside in Storm Lake, and will also continue to try to be as active in the community as possible.
Located at 516 Lake Avenue in downtown Storm Lake, the Sugar Bowl Gift Shop sells a diverse amount of gifts, crafts and accessories, while the adjacent Hallmark store offers greeting cards, picture frames and a variety of other merchandise for customers around the northwest Iowa area.