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New St. Ignatius shop offers candy, gifts

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ST. IGNATIUS – Stuart Morton dreamed of bringing life back to the set of storefronts that line U.S. Highway 93 near the entrance of town.  

“I wanted to make it something as big as when Doug Allard owned it,” Morton said. And he is keeping the Allard name on the business. Allard’s Candy Store and Gift Shop opened for business on May 10. One of those storefronts is now filled with confections and Mission Valley trinkets.

Allard was a St. Ignatius businessman who passed away in 2009. He owned the strip of businesses where the new candy and gift store are located. Morton started the business with Don Coffman.

“There’s no other store like this in Lake County,” Morton said. “It’s the biggest selection of candy, and it’s got unique gifts.” 

For now, the shop is focused on providing a wide variety of sweets. Morton said the store is stocked with 40 flavors of taffy and 50 types of bulk candy. The size of the selection is unique in the area, and some specialty candy offered at the store is not available elsewhere.

The store features gifts for loved ones of all ages, spices and teas. Displays in the store showcase buffalo skulls and rugs to highlight the unique character of the Mission Valley. 

Morton drew inspiration for the project from similar shops in other small Montana towns. He realized that St. Ignatius didn’t have a gift and candy shop and thought it could add to the town’s offerings.

Morton sees the new business as part of a larger effort to bring commerce and tourism to St. Ignatius. He thought the vacant storefronts in the buildings across the highway made the town less appealing to tourists. He said the location’s visibility to traffic makes it a good location for a business. He hopes locals will visit the store and that it will draw visitors to the area.

Morton expects his shop to create 10 jobs, and bring people to the town. “It will cause people to stop along the highway and hopefully use our gas station, our restaurants and want to see St. Ignatius.” 

The store is part of Allard’s Stage Stop, which includes a convenience store and a recently renovated motel. Morton said the business will grow in the coming months.  He plans to expand the gift section to include candles, T-shirts, puzzles and a wide variety of toys for children. Late this summer, the shop will serve homemade huckleberry milkshakes, pies and juices.

The store will be open  seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Morton said he encourages everyone to come and see the new store. “If you’re eight years old or 80 years old, you’ll find something you like,” he said.

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