Dec. 4, 2016 – Slinger, WI – It’s the end of an era in Slinger as Harold Meissner Jr. closes up Sonny’s Party & Variety.
Meissner, also know as Sonny, grew up in the grocery business, working at his father’s store in Milwaukee. When the storefront next to Harold Senior’s grocery became available, Sonny opened a dime store.
Sonny ran that store for 11 years until he was approached by a man who was building a new shopping center in Slinger.
Sonny’s Party & Variety was born in 1974 and opened in what is now the Village Square Shopping Center. Neighboring stores at the time were Papa’s Foods and the hardware store.
The hardware store, now C & R Ace Hardware eventually moved to Slinger Centre; it was replaced by the Village Beverage Liquor Store. Joyce Weyer, owner of the liquor store is Sonny’s current landlord.
Sonny’s son took over ownership of Sonny’s about 12 years ago, and Sonny stayed on as his employee. But at 82, Sonny wants to retire, and his son does not wish to run the store without his dad.
They are both going to stay in the area, but move onto other things. “I’m going to miss all the people and great customers,” he said.
Sonny plans to be more involved with his church; he’ll spend more time in his garden and with his family, especially his grandchildren.
His son will work at Held’s Meat Market. There is no set closing date, the current plan is to run the Retirement Sale until the store is empty.
Records show approximately 1,200 students have attended candy making and cake decorating classes at Sonny’s over the last 43 years.
Classes were taught by Wilton Cake, who was also the supplier for the candy making molds and cake decorating supplies.
Candy making and general variety were the first big sellers, along with July Fourth fireworks back when they were legal. Green Bay Packer items were huge sellers, especially when the green and gold won the Superbowl. The current biggest sellers are anything Age related, party supplies, along with the candy making & cake decorating supplies.
In past years, Sonny’s had a greenhouse tent, and the flowers were a big seller. He hasn’t had the tent in recent years, just selling the flowers on the sidewalk outside the store. He still sells approximately the same amount, with much less work on his part.
Be sure to stop in and see Sonny to say goodbye and pick up amazing deals at 50% off the original price.