Lazy Dog pops up with Grass Valley chocolate store for holidays | TheUnion.com

Lazy Dog pops up with Grass Valley chocolate store for holidays

Megan Lierly, left, and Mary Jane Parker have been keeping busy at Lazy Dog's new pop-up location in the Fowler Center.

For decades now, there has been a constant at almost every event Nevada County has to offer.

The Celtic Festival. The Nevada County Fair. The Country Christmas Faire. The Draft Horse Classic. The attractions and the audience might change, but you will always spot that iconic pink classic Chevy truck surrounded by blissed-out Lazy Dog ice cream lovers.

Bob and Debbie Peterson have owned brick and mortar stores in the past — they sold their last such venture, Lazy Dog Chocolateria at 111 Mill St. in Grass Valley, in June 2015.

But in recent years, the Petersons had devoted themselves to their nomadic business model — until they decided, as "a spur of the moment thing," to open up a pop-up store this fall. Chocolate enthusiasts can find their favorite Lazy Dog treats in the Fowler Center, but only through the end of December.

"My husband told me, you're the only person I know who could open a candy store with what you have around the house," Debbie Peterson said with a laugh.

Staying on the job

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Peterson says she opened the pop-up after the Celtic festival to keep her part-time staff employed a little bit longer.

"We have the greatest people ever, (and have) for a very long time," she said, singling out Carolyn Thompson (a former employee of The Union) as one who moved to Oregon but who still returns every summer to work at the fair.

"They're trying to convince me to stay" in the space permanently, Peterson said. "The store is just 900 square feet, so it's really do-able with one or two people. … We'll see what happens."

Peterson said the pop-up can only sell candy and pre-made ice cream bars; a permanent retail location would require them to put in multiple sinks, she said.

The pop-up currently is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., although Peterson said she anticipates staying open longer as Christmas approaches.

"We're winging it," she laughed.

The ice cream maven is particularly proud of a life-size magnetic scrabble board that takes up one entire wall of the pop-up.

"We had a mom and her child come in and play an entire game," she said. "It was awesome."

Peterson has been in the candy business for 40 years, telling The Union in a 2007 interview that she learned her craft from an 83-year-old candy maker who wanted to pass on his skills. She opened her own store in the tourist town of Mantorville, Minn., and met Bob after he came in for some Rocky Road ice cream.

A long history

The Petersons moved to Nevada City in the early 1980s and opened Confectionately Yours on the corner of South Pine and Broad streets; they sold that business 17 years later and took their sweets on the road.

Lazy Dog's ice cream became renowned in Nevada County — and even sparked a political flap in 2009, when the Grass Valley Downtown Association tried to bar Lazy Dog from the summertime Thursday night markets.

The Petersons have no offspring of their own, but Debbie likes to tell people she has hundreds of children — the customers who have come for years to line up in front of the Lazy Dog truck.

"Lots of those kids are bringing their children" now, she said, adding, "We've loved making them fat and happy, for 30 years!"

Contact reporter Liz Kellar at 530-477-4236 or by email at lkellar@hotmail.com.

Know & Go

What: Lazy Dog pop-up

Where: 2060 Nevada City Highway, Grass Valley

When: 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

For info or for special orders: Call 530-271-0774