Cero’s Candies ready to open in College Hill

WICHITA — Memorial Day has come and gone, and Cero’s Candies did not open in its new location as planned.

The Fourth of July came and went, too, with the store still in its downtown space, but the same won’t be true with Labor Day.

That’s because Pam Bishop says the new shop is opening at Happiness Plaza on East Douglas in College Hill on Wednesday.

“We’re finally getting to move,” she says.

Red tape related to approvals on the new site held things up, she says.

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Cero’s Candies to leave downtown for a less sunny spot in College Hill

Cero’s Candies owners Pam (left) and Darcy Bishop in front of the future College Hill home of the business.

WICHITA — Ed Cero has been gone from his family’s Cero’s Candies for more than a decade, but his advice lives on.

“Ed Cero had actually written little notes,” says Pam Bishop, who has owned the business with her daughter, Darcy, for two years.

They inherited the notes that Cero left for the previous owner.

“One of his notes was, ‘Never put a candy shop on the north side of the street,’” Pam Bishop says.

The Bishops agree – too much of their chocolate is melting due to the winter sun – and are moving the store from the north side of Douglas downtown to the south side of Douglas at Happiness Plaza in College Hill.

“We’re constantly shifting candy around,” Pam Bishop says.

“The sun beats in and melts the chocolate no matter how cold we keep the room,” Darcy Bishop says.

Instead of holding chocolate right now, one of the store’s cases instead has a big sugar Easter egg Ed Cero made in 1982.

The business, which opened in 1885, has been at a variety of addresses mostly along Douglas on the north and south sides.

Pam Bishop says the store’s current space is a little big for its needs.

Cero’s will move from 2,800 square feet at 1108 E. Douglas to 1,600 square feet at 3429 E. Douglas most likely on Memorial Day weekend.

“It’s got more usable space than we have now,” Darcy Bishop says of the new space.

For instance, a dessert cafe the Bishops tried in a side room at the current space didn’t work out.

“It was a little awkward, so we stopped doing it,” Pam Bishop says.

At the new space, which is a former house where the Bag Ladies used to be, there will be room in the front of the store for tables and chairs. There also will be WiFi.

The Bishops added ice cream sales in summer months after they bought the store. With the move into the College Hill neighborhood, Pam Bishop expects those sales to do better.

“That’s going to be a bigger draw there than it is here.”

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Mother and daughter purchase Cero’s Candies


WICHITA — A mother and daughter with MBAs and a love of sweets are the new owners of Cero’s Candies.

Pam Bishop and her daughter, Darcy Bishop, purchased the 125-year-old business for an undisclosed price.

“I’m a longtime customer of Cero’s,” Pam Bishop says. “It was important to me to keep Cero’s alive and healthy.”

In September, the Mental Health Association of South Central Kansas, which bought the business from the Cero family in 2000, announced it was looking for a buyer.

The nonprofit association has used the business to train and employ those with severe and persistent mental illnesses.

Other area employers are more willing to hire those with mental illnesses now, former Cero’s general manager Marni Eickelman said when announcing the business would be for sale.

Pam Bishop is an accountant who spent the last 22 years at Cessna Aircraft, where she retired in September.

Darcy Bishop has managed food service industries in Florida and now works at Cessna, though she’s been laid off and her last day is Dec. 10.

The layoff isn’t the reason for the business purchase, though.

“We actually started going down this path before,” Pam Bishop says. “I’ve always wanted to do something like this.”

So has her daughter.

“One of my hobbies is candy making and cookies, sweet breads — things along those lines,” Darcy Bishop says. “I saw it as an opportunity to combine my background in manufacturing and restaurant management and my hobby.”

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Cero’s Candies signs on with Kerr Enterprises

WICHITA — Wichita apparently is a hotbed of potential products for Arthur Kerr to market domestically and internationally.

Connie’s Cookies and Byblos Restaurant already have deals with Kerr Enterprises of New York to market products.

Now, Cero’s Candies is working with Kerr to sell its peanut brittle.

“This is really kind of our first venture,” Cero’s general manager Marni Eickelman says of actively marketing to potential customers outside of Wichita.

She says they particularly will focus on Canada but look at opportunities in Japan, the United Kingdom and on the East and West Coasts.

Catalogs and magazines are possibilities, too.

“It’s kind of exciting and new, something different,” Eickelman says.

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