TUSCOLA, Ill. (WCIA) — In the heart of downtown Tuscola sits Flesor’s Candy Kitchen, a small restaurant and confectionary shop. With the treats as sweet as the clientele, many folks come to enlighten their taste buds, and leave with a brand new book.

In the second dining room, shelves fill an entire wall stocked full of books.

Five years ago, owner Devon Flesor Story and her sister, Ann, populated the shelves with hundreds of books from their private collections along with others from customers who donated too. Now, only about one percent of those original books remain in place.

“It warms my hearts when customers spend time looking at the books on the shelves,” Story said. “We have such a dynamic collection, and it’s great for customers to take home books and bring others back to the shelves.”

Customers are encouraged to browse from all kinds of genres ranging from mystery to romance, and biography to children’s books, among many other genres.

“The world is full of people with diverse interests,” Story said. “No shelf in the store will ever be the same again. There are many books I would never read myself but customers love them, and vise versa.”

Flesor’s calls home to an original building in Tuscola’s history. Story’s grandfather, Gus Flesor, bought the building in 1901 shortly after his immigration from Greece. He learned the confectionary trade from other Greek immigrants migrating downstate from Chicago.

Business success led Gus to support his growing family in his new home of Tuscola. Nowadays, his granddaughters continue to keep his business alive. Books in the shop are an extra touch.

Customers are allowed to take home as many books as they would like, all for free. A small jar sits on one of the shelves in which customers can donate if they choose but it’s not required. The proceeds are then donated to the Tuscola Public Library each month, totaling around $30.

“Sometimes, customers feel awkward taking books and not leaving money for them,” Story said. “They can donate as much as they feel is necessary.”

Nau enjoys taking a mental health break at times to fill the shelves, look at the books recently donated and talk with customers, many of whom have traveled from far and wide.

“I have spoken with customers from Italy, Spain, Australia, China and dozens of states,” Story said. “We love having visitors to the shop from all over the world. We do make sure to treasure our local customers too.”

Nau wants to continue promoting literacy in the Tuscola and Central Illinois community.

“We are proud to serve the community,” Story said. “Customers love our food and the books, and we love having them visit us. We are trying to keep downtown Tuscola alive.”