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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.”