Carrie Rengers

Candyopolis may be closed but its merchandise is still available at Towne West Square

When Apothecary Essentials & More owner Rania Dillon heard that her Towne West Square neighbor Candyopolis would be closing, she stopped by the store.

“I was going to buy fixtures, really, and containers,” she says.

Instead, she ended up making an offer for the store’s entire inventory.

She says she “bought the whole thing.”

“The candy store’s been at the mall for at least 20 years,” Dillon says. “A lot of people came by and were sad about it. I remember as a kid going there as well.”

Her business, which she owns with her husband, Chris, sells natural remedies.

Candy may seem like an odd thing to add to the mix, but Dillon says during the time of Leonardo da Vinci — whose Vitruvian Man graces the Apothecary sign — apothecary shops actually were general stores.

She says shoppers coming into the store have expressed gratitude.

The Dillons are looking into wholesalers who can continue to supply them with candy, including healthier options of treats.

The 2-year-old store is near Bath & Body Works and Famous Footwear.

On Thursday, the Dillons are opening their second store in a strip center at 8541 W. 21st St. by Freddy’s Frozen Custard and Steakburgers.

The store is only 1,700 square feet compared to the 3,700 square feet at the mall, so there’s no room for candy at this time.

Rania Dillon says she’s already told her landlord she may be interested in a second space two doors down from the new one she’s opening. She wants to start an herb shop.

“That’s my dream.”

Dillon had planned to add herbs at her Towne West store “but the candy just happened,” she says. “Herbs will probably be the next step.”

A native of Cambodia, Dillon used to go with her family to see a Chinese herbalist whenever they had a prescription to fill from a doctor.

The herbalist would fill a brown bag with herbs and give instructions on how to brew them, and Dillon says she misses that. She says she wants to teach others how to use herbs to heal themselves.

Dillon says her education is in business and marketing, but she’s working on getting a master herbalist certificate.

She’s also a reiki practitioner and is already teaching free weekly classes in the 21st Street space. Dillon says she wants people to know how helpful meditation is. The classes are free, and Dillon says she plans to offer more classes when the store opens.

The goal, she says, is “to promote natural remedies and to show people that not (all) symptoms require medication.”