Small Town Sweet Bou­tique offers retro and modern sweets. Scott McClallen | Col­legian

Before Small Town Sweet Bou­tique even opened, store owner Danielle Brock con­tacted Hillsdale res­ident Kelly McNew to sponsor Molly’s Glitter Run, an annual 5k in memory of McNew’s daughter, who passed away at six years old. 

The day of the event, Brock passed out goodie bags filled with gummy pen­guins — Molly’s favorite candy.

“Before she was making a profit, she was already giving back to her com­munity,” McNew said. 

Since opening in late Sep­tember, Small Town Sweet Bou­tique has brought sweet treats and candy-lover’s nos­talgia to the city.

“We didn’t have a little hometown store where kids could stop in after school and pick out a treat,” McNew said. 

When the store opened in Sep­tember, Brock said she started out with both popular and rare, nos­talgic candy, but she lets cus­tomers in on the selection process. 

“We get probably 30 – 40 sug­ges­tions a week, and from there, we get what we can,” she said. “And every time we get some­thing someone requested, we post on Facebook, which brings people back in….If there’s an old candy you had growing up as a kid and you can’t find it any­where, if they still make it, we can mostly find it.”

The store’s most popular candies are cricket suckers, black licorice, and maple buns. 

“I buy cases at a time, and I can’t keep them in stock,” Brock said. 

According to Brock, a sur­prising new favorite is spicy candy — chili mango nerds, siricha suckers, hot cin­namon, and tabasco chocolate. 

But candy is only half the fun. The shop holds birthday parties, baby showers, and wedding showers. It’s booking some parties as far out as Feb­ruary.

“It’s open for everybody,” Brock said. “A woman even wants to have her forty-second birthday party here.” 

To involve the campus and beyond, Brock hired senior Faith Liebing. 

“She’s a great resource for planning ideas and spe­cials for parents weekend, like the candy pizza idea that can be delivered across campus,” Brock said. 

Liebing pitched a new feature for the store: selling can­dylover and chocolate supreme pizzas and deliv­ering them to the door. But her main job is to assemble candy bags and custom-made gift bou­quets.

“I like the idea because everyone who comes into a candy shop is happy — you can’t be angry or upset in a candy shop,” Liebing said. “The prices are lower than expected, and they do that pur­posely — they try to make them acces­sible to anyone and everyone.” 

To cel­e­brate Hal­loween, Small Town Sweet Bou­tique started selling gummy body parts and chocolate eye­balls and dec­o­rated with black cats and webs, but it plans to transform into the land of witch­craft and wiz­ardry the night of Oct. 27 from 7 – 9 p.m. 

“We didn’t want a tra­di­tional hal­loween, so we are having a Harry Potter night, a Night at Hog­warts. It’s a ticketed event,” Brock said. “We close down shop at 6, and and turn this place into Hog­warts the best we can — you’ll even get an accep­tance letter.” 

The $20 ticket pro­vides access to four sta­tions: sorting hats, But­terbeer floats and chocolate wands, a make-your-own-candy potion, and hide-and-seek the golden snitch. The store will also sell Harry Potter mer­chandise — Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans, chocolate frogs, Jelly Slugs, and But­terbeer. 

For the rest of the time, Brock said her favorite part of running the shop is wit­nessing everyone’s favorite candy.

“We love to see what kind of candy people want. It’s always fun when you see people checking out, whether it’s lawyers from the cour­t­house or police — you’re always curious what candy they like.”