Farewell to Kehr’s Candies: Iconic Candy Shop Closes After 18 Years

After nearly two decades of sweetening the local community’s life, Kehr’s Candies is set to close its doors at the Milwaukee Public Market, located at 400 N. Water St., by the end of this month. 

The announcement came directly from owners Paul and Katey Martinka, who shared this bittersweet news on Facebook, marking a significant change in their business operations.

For 18 years, Kehr’s Candies has been a staple at the Milwaukee Public Market, a place where locals and visitors alike could indulge in the nostalgic joy of handmade chocolates and confections. 

The decision not to renew their lease comes from a desire to step away from the demanding nature of brick-and-mortar retail.

The future for Kehr’s Candies includes maintaining an online shop and curbside pickup, with plans to introduce pop-up events. 

However, they will be taking a seasonal break during the summer months, a nod to the tradition of closing when it’s too hot for mail-outs, allowing them time to enjoy with their family and on their farm.

Originally founded during the Depression by Pearl and B.D. Kehr, the business started with selling caramel corn and potato chips. Over the years, it evolved significantly, transitioning from multiple citywide locations to focusing on a factory under William Kehr’s stewardship, before Paul Martinka, a former stock boy from the ’80s, took the helm. 

In 2006, the Martinkas opened the retail location at the Milwaukee Public Market, continuing the legacy of this cherished local brand.

The Martinkas assure their customers that they will keep the trays full and the boxed candy stocked through February 29th, ensuring that those final weeks at the market are as sweet as ever.

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