The Candy Kitchen by Team ANZEC

Mike Poulos, a Greek immigrant, opened the Candy Kitchen in 1915. In 1945, “Bennie” Bushu and his wife Laura joined the business and continued the business when Mike retired in 1951. Charles and Mary Prout later joined Bennie and Laura in operating the Candy Kitchen. Bennie and his staff would produce 50 to 75 pounds of handmade candies each day. During the summer months their efforts focused on caramels including their popular caramel apples on a stick. They once made and sold 1,500 candy apples for the Villa Grove Pancake Festival and their candy apples were a mainstay at home football games for many years. In addition to candies, the soda fountain featured ice cream and sandwiches. The Candy Kitchen closed after Bennie passed away in 1965, but some things carried on in the community. Until he retired, Bennie’s son Larry operated the Arcola Pharmacy on Main Street across the street from the former Candy Kitchen. In addition to hosting the famed Coffee Club, Larry’s counter was a place where you could get an old fashioned ice cream sundae and a dime soda.

Team ANZEC, which consisted of 5 New Zealanders and 1 Australian, volunteered to travel to Arcola to paint in honor of their fallen friend and painting mentor, John Jordan. The mural theme and design was developed by Scott “Cornbread” Lindley, the event coordinator for the Arcola Pop the Top Walldog Event.  John’s son, Paul Jordan, was a part of the group along with his friends, Dean “Elvis” Johnstone, Anne McDonald, Jeff Harvey, Maurice Ireland, Bruce Greig and Peggy Larson in painting the mural.