Owners Cindy and Mark Fox are celebrating the 9th anniversary of the opening of Sweeet! The Candy Store in downtown Gettysburg.
“Everyone loves candy,” said Cindy Fox. “It’s my husband; it’s all his crazy brain. Mark was his own motivation. He gets an idea in his head and he’s committed to it. He’s going to see it through. Maybe Willy Wonka was his motivation. His plans turn out great most of the time. He’s the front end and I’m the back end. We’re perfect partners. He runs ahead and I pull back. So, we balance each other out.”
Cindy said the couple chose Gettysburg because her parents have been living here for around 25 years. When she and Mark were visiting from Arizona Mark said to her, “You know what this town needs? A candy store.”
Cindy said Sweeet!’s goal is fun, and that they had drawn inspiration from the movie “Dude, Where’s My Car?” when naming their business. When they first opened, they started with 1,000 items. Now, they have five times as much candy and have added 500 types of soda and 50 types of root beer.
“We wanted to make sure we had 1,000 types of candy because that was a big thing for Mark,” said Cindy. “He had this vision in his head and he built and designed everything. We rented our space. Then, he built all of those shelves. He learned how to weld plastic and make little boxes. He worked nonstop when we first opened. He had the business open that first summer from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. He put all of his energy into it to make sure it was a success.”
The couple had originally had not planned to close for more than two weeks when the pandemic started; however, they ended up closing for two months. One positive addition is that they were able to expand to online ordering, curbside pickup, and delivery. “I’m the kind of person who hopes for the best and plans for the worst,” said Cindy. We learned a lot about the history of candy and what’s available.”
“We’re outgrowing our space. We might look at opening a second store in town. We want to get bigger and better,” said Cindy. Currently, three fulltime employees in addition to Mark, and Cindy work at the shop.
“We’re doing well right now since it’s spring break and people are off. Because we’re a candy shop, we are fun and not very expensive. We have candy ranging from a nickel to high end candy. We’re glad we can bring a little sunshine and fun into everyone’s lives,” said Cindy.
Fox feels a sense of pride when reflecting on her business. “We’re so happy to see happy people. But Mark had a vision and he was right. When we first opened, a lot of people gave opinions. A lot of people said we should have a Civil War theme. But we just wanted to be fun. We just happen to be in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. We’re the last stop after the tours.”
Cindy Fox advises, “Don’t spend more than what you can afford, but commit to what you decide to do. Go all in but with an amount of money you can live with. Keep evaluating as you go along. You never know how things are going to work out. That’s what the successful businesses in town have in common. They’ve trusted their gut and done what they think will work well going forward.” She mentioned how receiving advice from others can be crucial. When traveling, “We look around at other candy stores to get an idea. You have to make it your personality, but listen to what others like and want.”
“We’re proud that everyone is welcome in our store. Sometimes we see groups of people that might not get along who come into our store. But everyone acts pleasant and polite because everyone is welcome. Customers are happy to talk about their favorite candy.
Sweeet! Enforces wearing a mask while in the store.