With so many small businesses in Springfield and new ones opening all the time, it can be hard to stand out from the crowd. However, having a life-size replica of a Tyrannosaurus rex skull in your front window is one way to get people’s attention. Rock Candy opened for business on Nov. 4, and while they’re still waiting for their signage to be installed, they’ve already had some walk-in traffic from curious customers.

The store is located at 1313 Stevenson Dr., across from Bunn-O-Matic in the former Styx Tattoo building. The space itself is a typical retail floor plan, but the store sells fossils and minerals along with more typical gift items such as jewelry and candles.

The manager, Dennis O’Bryan, explained that the business has expanded from his girlfriend Deborah Hamilton’s hobby to the two of them being regulars on the trade show circuit to now a physical location. “She’s always been into fossils; she finds them and preps them herself. She’s even writing a book on a specific location in Indiana where she collects materials,” he said.

O’Bryan said the couple travels to about 20 shows throughout the year, all across the country. “She was selling at shows and doing alright, but then I came up with the Rock Candy idea and wanted to do a candy store theme.”

As for the T-rex skull greeting people at the entrance, O’Bryan said that one of their trade show partners had bought it for his home but then decided he didn’t want it. “It’s something that not everybody has, so we added it to the shop. Eventually, we’ll have some meglodon (shark) jaws and other pieces that you don’t find in every rock shop.”