Ogle County sweet spot
Something very sweet happened this summer. SparkleFox Confections celebrated its grand opening in August 2021 in the very heart of Oregon, IL. It is located on 4th Street, just north of the Highway 2 and Rt. 64 intersection. Its bright window art with the SparkleFox logo is hard to miss. Enjoy a creamy, rich dish of gelato while sitting outside on a warm day.
Diana Early is the shop's owner. She previously worked as a marketing executive in Rockford for over two decades. Additionally, she is the creator of each wonderful morsel of sweetness. Early lives in Byron, IL, with her husband and three sons (ages 14, 11, and 8), two Pomeranians, and three cats. That does sound like a very active household!
At farmers’ markets and events like Stroll on State in 2019, Early sold her confectioneries before moving to the small town of Oregon in Ogle County.
“I’ve always dreamed of owning my own shop. I’ve been making candies for many years as a creative outlet, but when my position was eliminated back in April, it became a full-time gig,” Early explained.
A new Chocolate Trail member
The Blackhawk Waterways Chocolate Trail is happy to welcome SparkleFox Confections into their fold. When you get the chance, be sure to check out this unique trail when on the hunt for everything chocolate.
The variety is endless.
Here’s just a partial list of the homemade sweet treats available at SparkleFox Confections.
- Bon Bons
- Chocolate dipped pretzels and Oreos
- Cake rolls
- Cookies and cookie trays (Christmas is coming!)
- Cotton candy
- Caramel corn
- S’mores pops
- Caramel apples and chocolate-dipped caramel apples
- Hot cocoa bombs, and so much more!
* Early’s products are all homemade–except for the incredible gelato. “We source our gelato fresh every week from Cucina di Rosa, an Italian restaurant in Rockford,” said Hamblock.
Beverages both hot and cold complement your treats.
The SparkleFox store is bright and colorful, showing the owner’s artistic and creative background. At the front of the store, tables are ready for customers to sit and enjoy their favorite sweet snack along with a beverage selection.
Choose from its cold drink selections of craft sodas, Italian and cream sodas, hot tea, and iced passion tea. The hot drinks are coffees, lattes, and espressos.
Everyone has their favorite treat.
Even if you don't have a sweet tooth, you can't help but want to take home some of Hamblock's masterpieces when you stroll through the store. While turtles are a fan favorite, she revealed that hot cocoa bombs had been their top overall seller since opening their doors.
Does the candymaker have any favorites? “I love them all, but one of my favorites is a seasonal item. It’s called “Fox in Snow.” It’s a chocolate fox laying in a pillowy bed of sparkly cotton candy,” said Early. “Although, flavor-wise, it’s pretty hard to beat the chocolate-dipped caramel apples.”
Operating hours for everyone
Do you work a 9-5 job and get frustrated when a business is only open during that same timeframe? SparkleFox’s business hours cater to everyone. This shop has several evenings and weekend hours to accommodate your last-minute sugar-craving or need for a housewarming gift.
Sunday: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Wednesday: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Thursday: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Friday: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Saturday: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
SparkleFox has online ordering through its website (link listed below) with in-store pickup. There are some delivery options available.
An added delight | gift items
While your gelato choice is being scooped up, browse the shop for its many unique and fun gift non-candy items. Candles, bubble baths, loose leaf teas, coloring books, stuffed animals, art kits, hand-painted notebooks, cups and mugs, whiskey stone sets, and seasonal ware are just a few gift items available for sale.
Plans for the future
Early has got plans. Next year, she wants to add a wine bar at the back of the store and a mobile bar.
“We’re hoping to do wine tastings along with specialty cocktails like cotton candy martinis and other candy-themed drinks. Some fun special themed events are being planned like girls’ nights,” said Early. “Next year, we hope to have a Halloween party,” she added.
Early is experimenting with edible sugar art and hoping to someday open an additional location in Galena or the Chicago suburbs.
SparkleFox Confections has a busy 2022 coming up. Keep an eye on its social media channels for upcoming events–the links are listed at the end of the article.
It’s an excellent place to be.
This sweets shop is a welcome addition to Oregon. Early is more than thankful for the support she has received in the short time the store has been open.
“I can’t say how many times people have told us how genuinely happy that we are here and how much they want us to succeed. People appreciate the treats, atmosphere, and the aesthetics of the shop,” commented Early. “I was also astonished at how far our customer base goes. We’ve had people come out from Rockford and even the suburbs just to check out the shop or pick up their favorite treats.”
108 N. 4th Street
Oregon, IL, US 61061