OSWEGO — When Man in the Moon Candies first opened in 2018 in the footprint of the former McDonald’s Fashions, visitors came in just to check out the building.
Man in the Moon owner Amy Lear said people would breeze through and talk about the spot where they’d brought their wedding gown, or to share memories of shopping with their mother. It’s still a place full of memories of the longtime retailer that was a downtown staple for eight decades.
Now that Lear believes she has found Man in the Moon’s permanent home, exterior renovations have started to restore the building to its former glory from the late 1910s.
“We are really excited to breathe life back into a building that has such good bones and bring the beauty back to this iconic building that everybody knows,” Lear said.
Jake Mulcahey, founder and owner of Oswego’s Pinnacle Builders USA Inc., said his crews had to replace some of the exterior fixtures and molding near the roof before repainting the awning a striking cream and blue (seen in photograph at left.)
After removing the granite above the storefront, crews are now working on repairing the original red glazed brick portion. The leaded windows on the second story are being cleaned up or replaced, a shadow box will house a brand new sign for Man in the Moon and a new awning will complete the look.
“We’re just trying to restore it to the beautiful building that it is underneath — what it should be,” Lear said. “We’re excited to be part of the downtown revitalization and the improvements here in downtown. There’s a lot going on, a lot of construction. The Litatro Building across the street is beautiful. Our building is going to be smaller, but just as beautiful in a different way.”
Getting started on the exterior renovations has been years in the making.
Originally opened in 2007, Man in the Moon purchased the former McDonald’s building in March 2018, started exterior renovations a few months later and moved into the space in September 2018.
Man in the Moon got approval for exterior renovations with the help of some of Oswego’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) funds last fall, but had to wait through the winter for work to start. The COVID-19 pandemic pushed the project back form early spring to July.
“It’s been a long process, but it’s going to be well worth it,” Lear said. “The facade is going to be gorgeous, a beautiful restoration of an iconic downtown building.”
While Mulcahey enjoys working on historic buildings, they can present challenges. For instance, some of the brick under the granite slabs wasn’t the glazed variety, so he had to find a place in Texas with the specific type needed.
“These historical projects are always full of surprises,” Mulcahey said. “Typically the buildings have been renovated already, sometimes numerous times. Sometimes it’s like peeling an onion, layer-by-layer.”
Both Lear and Mulcahey talked about how good the building’s underlying structure is, and their hope to turn it into a place that will — once completed — look as beautiful as it did in its glory days.
“We love working on the downtown storefronts,” Mulcahey said. “It’s a bonus when you walk or drive through downtown or you’re eating dinner across the street and see a building you renovated two, five or 10 years ago. We’re trying to improve downtown. It’s exciting for everybody.”