Candy store moves inside Ole Barn

Published 9:55 am Friday, September 14, 2012

Napoli Chocolate; which opened in April; has been renamed Ole Barn Country Store and now includes Ole Barn BBQ sauces. It's located inside Ole Barn BBQ. -- Adam Harringa/

Napoli Chocolate is now Ole Barn Country Store; Machine Shed arcade gets makeover, adds games and seating

Those passing by the former home of Napoli Chocolate might assume it’s closed. But venture into Ole Barn BBQ, and they’ll see it’s part of a new candy and canned goods shop which includes Ole Barn’s homemade sauces.

Bob and Lisa Nelson, owners of Ole Barn BBQ and Napoli Chocolate, will open Ole Barn Country Store by the end of the month after closing the candy shop this week. The new shop — located just inside the restaurant’s Oak Park Mall entrance — features the homemade and imported chocolates and candies from Napoli Chocolate, fruit spreads and jams, pickles and jalapeños, gifts and crafts, grilling rub mixes and spices, and of course, seven flavors of Bob’s secret barbecue sauces.

Bob said the move was spurred by popular demand.

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“We figured what better way to capitalize than to put in a country store,” he said.

The Nelsons are also revamping their arcade, the Machine Shed, adding 12 games and a dining area. The seating in the arcade section more than makes up for the loss of seating from the shop, Bob says, as they will go from about 130 to 150 seats.

The moves are a part of the Nelsons’ continued investment in Oak Park Mall. The longtime owners of the Restaurant Warehouse — a supply business for restaurants that burned down in August 2011 — opened the Home Kitchen Warehouse — a supply store for home-based customers — in the mall in September 2011, and re-opened the Restaurant Warehouse in the former home of Sears next to the other warehouse. Then, they launched Ole Barn BBQ in December 2011, the Machine Shed in January and Napoli Chocolate in April, all in the mall.

“It’s never a dull moment,” Bob said. “One day you come in and we’re a restaurant, and the next time you come and we have a country store.”