Small Business Stories: The Sweet Shoppe
The Sweet Shoppe is so much more than just a candy store!
The Sweet Shoppe, located at 610 1/2 N Main in Newton, may look tiny from the outside but there is so much more to it than meets the eye. In this Small Business Story, store manager, Austin Lakey, shares the bigger mission behind the little store and what your dollars go to when you buy a piece of candy.
Why did you decide to start your business?
“Since we are run by So Shine Foundation who owns Norm’s Coffee Bar, we had continually looked across the street at this little empty space and dreamed for years about what could go there. So Shine Foundation exists to increase the health and vitality of Neighborhoods we serve, and part of that mission is to grow the small business culture here in the heart of downtown Newton! The opportunity finally came for us to move into the space, and what better addition to downtown than a cute little candy store. One of our top priorities when opening was to partner with Chisholm to provide a hands-on learning lab. A group of a few students come over each Wednesday and we get to provide them skills training that will help them secure a job in the future. The hope is that maybe they would even stay in Newton and use those skills to open a business of their own!”
What makes your business unique?
“We are so much more than just a candy store! When you buy a sweet treat at The Sweet Shoppe, you are directly supporting the work we are doing here in Newton. As a non-profit, we have initiatives such as:
–The Table, which is A free community dinner serving ~250 people each wednesday,
–Later at the Porch, An after school program that provides a safe space for the students at Santa Fe
–The Porch Pantry, which is a community fridge/pantry providing an opportunity for the community to donate and take food as they need.
So each time you come in and choose to buy a treat with us, your money is flowing around to all of these initiatives to help the flourishing of our community!”
What advice would you give to someone who is looking to start their own business?
“Before anything, you need to identify a need for the community. Does the place where you are trying to start your business want/need what your business would offer? If yes, then start there and then move forward with all the other things. My biggest piece of advice amongst everything else…JUST DO IT.. No, seriously. If you have the means to do so and the opportunity, don’t let anyone tell you not to follow that dream! It is not always going to be easy and you will face struggles along the way, but you will never know if you never try!”
Thank you for sharing your story! To learn more about this business, you can check out their Facebook page at facebook.com/soshinesweetshoppe, or give them a call at (316) 217-5407.
Are you a small business Chamber member who would like to share your story? You can learn more about our Small Business Stories campaign and how to participate at www.newtonchamberks.org//may-feature-small-business-stories/