The Cottage That Candy Built
The colorful cottage, located behind the bright yellow picket fence on East Main Street in Huntington, is a symbol that childhood dreams really do come true.
Lisa Hodes’ career shift from corporate to candy cottage nine years ago marked the start of a new chapter in not only Hodes’ life, but that of a 19-year-old staple of the Huntington community called Sweetie’s Candy Cottage.
For the past nine years, Sweetie’s Candy Cottage has thrived under Hodes’ stewardship. Since buying the confectionary cottage in 2003, Hodes has continued to build her business from the ground up, incorporating a wealth of business savvy into a product, and community, she believes in.
“I have a passion for this, and I wanted a nice mix of business and things I love, like candy. It was important for me to surround myself in a certain friendly, family-oriented environment. In general, it was my goal to affect the quality of my own life and everybody who walks in here,” Hodes said.
According to the shop owner, the business didn’t always cater to both adults and children. In fact, Hodes said, older customers are often pleasantly surprised to find that Sweetie’s not only carries products that are kid-friendly; the store is also chockfull of pre-wrapped gifts and holiday edibles, and makes custom, candy-filled centerpieces.
“We have stuff you’ll never find anywhere else; we don’t just carry your plain coconut cluster,” Hodes said.
Much of Sweetie’s success over the past several years is credited to the creativity of Hodes and her staff. Oftentimes, the cottage confectioners put together their own custom recipes and put a unique twist on traditional candy favorites.
Custom creations found at Sweetie’s include their amazing, rich-but-not-too-rich “Better Than A Cupcake Peanut Butter” candy, a mini sandwich made with two small chocolate chip cookies sandwiched together with icing and coated in a hard peanut butter chocolate shell, topped with peanut butter chocolate chips; “Salted Health Nut Bark;” “Chocolate Pizzas;” “Oreo Peppermint Bark;” and “Dark Chocolate S’mores Clusters.”
The quaint cottage also carries timeless candy classics that many larger stores have stopped carrying, including Jawbreakers, Chuckles, Necco Wafers, Rock Candy and Charleston Chews.
But the candy doesn’t simply sell itself, Hodes explained. In an economy that doesn’t always favor the plight of the small business owner, Hodes turns to her creativity, her loyal customer base and the entire Huntington community to keep the candy cottage running smoothly.
“Our motto is to keep costs low and to pass it on to my customers. It doesn’t always work to my benefit, but it’s a good policy to have. We have a nice partnership with the community, and it’s so uplifting to serve customers who leave here with a smile, thanking me… It’s such a gift,” Hodes said.
But don’t let the small size of Sweetie’s fool you— 70 percent of the store’s top-selling chocolate is made in house. That’s right; Hodes and her close-knit circle of employees produce a bulk of their delicious, colorful cocoa right behind the counter of the small East Main Street store.
In addition to toys, candy packages and boxes of chocolate, Sweetie’s offers holiday Easter bunnies, Santa’s and even candy bouquets for both boys and girls.
The cottage recently began selling items, wholesale, Hodes said.
Sweetie’s Candy Cottage is located at 142 E. Main St., Huntington (631) 423-7635 www.SweetiesCandyCottage.com