Step back in time at Piper’s Grocery and Candy store in Chariton. A mainstay for residents for more than 100 years, Piper’s is a vintage meat market, candy and grocery store located on the corner of the community’s downtown square. I took time to explore the store and hear about their popular candies from the current owner, Jill Kerns, a descendant of the store’s original owner.
I noticed that antiques adorned the walls and shelves. Modern groceries, specialty products, and vintage-looking items filled the rest of the space. The store’s aroma is sweet from donuts made fresh that morning and from candy preparations happening in the back of the store. The cashier explained that the donuts are popular after-school treats among high school boys.
I continued to meander toward the middle of the store but stopped when a display case full of homemade candies caught my attention. Turtles, caramel rolls, toffee, and a variety of chocolate covered sweets tempted me to sample each. Toward the back of the store, a white board listed the day’s specials at the deli counter.
Piper’s has been in the business since 1903 and moved from a location across the square very shortly after its opening. In 1947, Bob and Ruth Piper bought the business from Bob’s father and established Piper’s candy operation. Today’s candy creators still use recipes from 1947.
The sweet little Iowa gem hasn’t changed much over the years, and that’s what loyal customers like. They can always depend on quality deli meats, groceries, and of course, the decadent candies that have made Piper’s famous.