For residents who have a sweet tooth and need that sugar fix, two new candy shops have opened in Moose Jaw that offer some well-known favourites and exciting new options.
Sweet Treats Candy Co. recently opened at 14 River Street East under the ownership of Vanessa Schaefer, while Tristian’s Treats recently opened at 259 High Street West under Tristian De Yoe. The Moose Jaw Express spoke to both owners about their new sugary endeavours.
Sweet Treats Candy Co.
Schaefer dreamed of operating a candy business when she was 18 years old, and since she turns 50 this year, she thought “it was now or never” to open such a shop. She worked in human services for 15 years helping families reconnect and reunite, especially if social services was involved, so she wanted to run a business that would make people — especially kids — happy.
“I wanted everybody to remember candies from when they were a child and be able to share stories with one another,” she said. “And it’s been fun hearing the older generation sharing with their grandkids … .”
Besides selling candy, Schaefer — whose favourite candies are butter rum Lifesavers and Fun Dips — also wants to help mothers looking to re-enter the workforce. This would include hiring them, helping them acquire job experience and being their references.
“I’m still a helper by nature, so it would be nice to still be able to help … ,” she said.
Schaefer also plans to feature women who run home-based businesses. Once a month, she would invite such business owners to showcase their products to advertise the types of home-based businesses in Moose Jaw.
The Saskatoon-born woman had planned to open her candy shop in 2022, but she realized now was the time because of changes in employment. It took six weeks to get things rolling, a surprisingly quick feat as she thought it would take until August.
Schaefer credited her business-oriented friends with helping her move so quickly, along with resources from the chamber of commerce. She joked that she learned so much about opening a shop that she can now mud and drywall.
“Everyone tells you it will be easy to open a business, but it’s not. There are a lot of hoops to (jump through) to open, even just the front door,” she said.
While the pandemic damaged many parts of the economy, the candy industry grew 32 per cent during the past 16 months, a trend that is expected to continue, Schaefer pointed out. She plans to have her online business running soon to send products — candy grams, anyone? — by mail if necessary.
Tristian De Yoe originally had a small candy section at Watchtower Glass and thought that would suffice, but families kept showing up to purchase his items and ignored the main business itself. So, after speaking with his fiancée, Olivia James, they realized a standalone candy store was needed in Moose Jaw, especially after the Moose Jaw Fudge Factory storefront closed.
“Plus, I kind of wanted to do something to leave for my (three-year-old) kid, potentially, maybe,” De Yoe chuckled.
De Yoe has enjoyed how well his business has flourished during the first couple of weeks. He has received plenty of positive feedback, he said, which isn’t too surprising since “no one comes into a candy store angry or upset.”
Originally from Chilliwack, British Columbia, De Yoe explained that he thought about opening a candy shop during the past five years, but the idea took hold last December. He would have opened sooner, but his landlord had to fix a leaky roof. Still, he had a great experience preparing to open, while he had many friends help him set up.
De Yoe encouraged residents to visit him because of the friendly staff, the fact he will attempt to bring in any candy product, and the fact he will match and beat other local prices.
Besides candy, miniature cars are also sold in the same room as Tristian’s Treats. Bill’s Diecast and Hobby Room occupies the other half of the room and is operated by Bill Warren from Regina.
“It goes hand in hand with the candy. It’s so, so awesome,” said De Yoe, who is a fan of mini cars himself — Datsuns in particular — and buys his son the occasional Hot Wheels. “The space was bigger than I thought (so he rented it out). Half the kids turn left (when they come in) and the other half go to the candy.”
Visit Facebook for more information about this hobby car business.