Sweet story: It's all about family for Sucre's new owners
It seems Zo and Dani Evans were destined to be the new owners of Sucre Sweets and Socials.
The baby shower for their daughter Scout, now 3 years old, was held at Sucre's original Morton location at 321 S. First Ave., when it was an event venue and sweet shop.
Scout is gluten and lactose intolerant. Sucre has always been a favorite place for her because she can eat most of the foods there.
Sucre moved a few blocks away from its original location to 105 S. Main St. in downtown Morton last May. The space was the site of Binkley Jewelers from 1986-2021, then Decorating Den Interiors, which moved to a new space on South Main.
A few months after moving Sucre to South Main, LeTourneau put the business up for sale.
Zo Evans is the Morton village clerk.
He's also the executive director of the JFL (Junior Football League) of Central Illinois, an organization that oversees and organizes competition for 20 local programs in eight counties.
He was wearing his village clerk hat at Village Hall during a day in early October last year, preparing a Morton Village Board meeting agenda, when he came across an email from the Morton Chamber of Commerce that announced a downtown Morton business was for sale.
The business was Sucre. The timing of the sale was perfect for Zo and Dani Evans.
"My wife and I were looking at the time to open a family-friendly spot for people to gather that enhanced Main Street and the small shops there," Zo Evans said.
He called the broker who was handling the Sucre sale almost immediately after reading the Chamber of Commerce email.
Then came "almost three months of talks, meetings, phone calls and negotiations to make sure the business was a good fit for us, we were the right people to carry on the brand, and we would do Morton justice by owning the shop," he said.
"Everyone felt great about the sale, so after keeping the thing a secret, we closed the deal and Keely handed us the keys."
And handed the Evans family an opportunity to create a family legacy.
"It's great to be able to show Scout and my five step-kids (ages 10 through 20) what owning a business and working hard for your money truly means," Zo Evans.
"Better yet, my little girl thanks me daily for 'buying me an ice cream shop.' That means so much."
Zo Evans said his wife is "fantastic at cooking and baking." She's also a graphic designer with a business administration and management college education. He's more of a behind-the-scenes numbers guy for Sucre, he said.
The ownership of Sucre changed hands Jan. 1.
Since then, the business' identity has been sharpened into a gourmet sweet shop, Zo Evans said. Seating and tables have been added in the store, he said, "to make the place a family-friendly hangout."
Under the iconic "Life is sweet" sign that has been a part of Sucre since it opened in 2017 and in front of a brick wall are 16 varieties of candies sold by the pound that customers can scoop themselves, and eight nostalgic or unique candies from around the world.
Menu items include Dole Whip and Soft Serve (cups or cones), ready-to-eat cookie dough (chocolate chip or monster), Poppin' Boba Lemonade, waffle bites (with soft serve and dipping sauce), waffle cone (soft serve and toppings inside), drinks, floats and sundaes.
Sucre's traveling trolley also was sold to the Zo and Dani Evans. Its menu includes Dole Whip floats, root beer floats, Poppin' Boba and soft serve.
Zo Evans said the trolley will be a staple at area youth sports tournaments with a percentage of sales going to tournament organizers. It's also scheduled to be at a wedding in May.
About five weeks after taking over the business, everything is going well, Zo Evans said.
"The love and support our family and friends in the community have shown us is overwhelming. We couldn't be happier," he said.
On a recent Saturday, "there were people coming in from out of town for pomegranate Dole Whip. About 50 people came in that day we hadn't seen before," he said.
"We'll be rotating Dole Whip flavors, seven or eight of them, with the original pineapple Dole Whip remaining constant."
Zo Evans said he'll be at the store working instead of being on the road often during the warn weather months.
In addition to being the Morton village clerk and running a far-ranging youth football league, he's a professional umpire. He's worked baseball games from high school through college and the minor leagues during his career.
"For the first time in 17 years, I won't be umpiring this year," he said.
Sucre store hours are 2:30-7 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, 2:30-8 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.
For information on booking the Sucre trolley, call (309) 291-5065 or send an email to SucreSocials@gmail.com.