It might be a dream of many to work in a candy shop, but Patty Miglore never dreamed her job at Aunt Diana’s Fudge Shop would last 33 years. On May 6 Miglore celebrated the anniversary of when she first was first hired by the store’s owner Gerry Gits.
At the time she began working, the store was located at its present location at 29 E. Burlington St. in Riverside, but it was much smaller than today. Six months into the job, the manager quit and Patty took the helm, a job she has held ever since.
Her duties included helping to open and supply other Aunt Diana’s stores in the Chicago area, including the one that opened in the Old Chicago Building in Bolingbrook in 1975; the Water Tower Place store, which opened the day after Thanksgiving in 1976; the store in the Northbrook Court mall in 1978; and the Forest Park branch, which opened in 1980.
Over the years the other Aunt Diana’s stores closed. The last of the satellite stores to shutter was the one at Water Tower Place, which lasted through the 1990s.
She also supervised the making of fudge for Swiss Colony Cheese for their mail order division. During 1984 she made the move along with the Riverside store further down on Burlington Street, before moving back to the present location, in a bigger space than the original, in 1998.
Throughout all the transitions with the business of Aunt Diana’s, she never missed making the fudge and products the store had become famous for.
The store has increased products over the years, many coming from the imagination of Patty Miglore. She is constantly looking for molds to make candy products, many of which are personalized, for weddings, showers, events and holidays.
She introduced ice cream into the shop and owner Gerry Gits named an ice cream bar a “Patty Bar” in her honor, and it was at the Riverside store where the famous frozen bananas began.
Holidays are always busy for Miglore who says, “We work all year round just to prepare for Christmas. September through December are my busiest times. It is twice as hard as Easter and Valentine’s Day.”
Coming up with specialty items, whether they’re chocolate horns of plenty, candy houses, sleighs or other gift items, have all come from ideas by Patty. Her favorite holiday is Halloween, saying she enjoys the colors and likes making caramel apples for the day.
Over the years Patty and Aunt Diana’s have been part of many events, including Taste of Chicago (in which they still participate), Chicago Fest and an autumn fair when Jane Byrne was Mayor of Chicago.
She can also tell you about every teen who has worked at the shop before going on to college or other steps in life. She laughs as she says, “I always tell them I’m going to be the nicest boss you’ll ever have, trust me.”
Many of them still keep in touch and enjoy remembering some of the laughs shared with Patty.
Children coming to the shop refer to her as Auntie Patty, and many little ones believe it is Auntie Patty’s store.
It is not unusual for Patty to be waiting on children whose parents would come into the shop when they were children. She seldom forgets a name, remembers birthdays of many, always asks about customers family members, knows when schools will be having their fundraisers, knows where everything is in the store and is known for her generosity.
It is safe to say Patty Miglore never dreamed 33 years ago she would be such an important part of Aunt Diana’s, nor do we think Gerry Gits would ever have dreamed the girl he hired would become such a valuable employee over the years.
Stop in and wish Auntie Patty a happy anniversary!