Weekly Business Profile
Type of business:
Candy Store / Sweet Shop
8600 Indian School Rd NE
Albuquerque NM 87112
How did you get started in this business?
Sheila's Story: My grandmother, Catherine Magrath, helped to support her family during the Depression by putting her kitchen to use and making candy, sweet rolls and wedding cakes among other things. This was in my hometown of McCook, Nebraska. Grandma, also known as “Mrs. L.A. Magrath” taught me how to make caramel candy when I was 13. I wasn't interested in the other candy that she made, only because her caramel candy was so incredibly good that I knew it was a winner. I dreamed of some day starting a business selling caramel. I wanted to concentrate on caramel only, so I developed a recipe for sauce and lollipops that have the same great flavor. In April 2008, I quit working for someone else and went full time with my candy business. Now this is a family business that I own with my husband Gerald who also quit working for someone else. We decided to expand with a Local Store that features small local entrepreneurs, selling unique items ranging from crafts to delicious treats. We have a small café where we use caramel in a variety of ways on our menu, which is creative and unique. We hope to excite your appetite and enjoyment of a caramelicious foodie experience from our family to yours!
What are your company’s greatest assets?
Our caramel products, and ourselves. To be successful we need our products to always be top quality. Our restaurant and candy store need to be squeaky clean, and our food fresh and tasty. This takes a lot of hours, but we love it and feel that our time and effort reflect in the quality of our products.
What motivates you to succeed besides the desire to make money?
Doing what we love, and making available the best caramel.
How is operating your own business different than you expected?
The hours are longer, and the challenges are harder.
What significant changes have you implemented recently?
A larger variety of caramel items are available. We now have caramel fudge, caramel corn, chocolate covered caramel (white, dark and milk) caramel pralines, both chewy and crunchy, plus we've added flavors to our caramel and caramel corn. We currently carry red and green chile. Some customers have reported that the chile caramel helps with their migraine headaches.
What successes in the past year are you most proud of accomplishing?
We opened our first (and only) location, which includes our candy / local store and restaurant. Our store and restaurant is different, with emphasis on our caramel and caramel creations, and we're happy to carry local products from local companies.
What are your strongest business traits?
The best caramel, plus our atmosphere is unique. It's warm and inviting; our customers love it and call it charming. We are definitely one of a kind.
What do you offer that the competition doesn’t?
We have the best caramel, so we don't feel like we really are in competition with others. The taste is miles apart.
What is your company’s greatest challenge?
Getting the word out to let people know what we are all about and what great Sweets and Eats we offer.
What contributions to the community (charitable or otherwise) are you most proud of?
Putting an eatery, plus candy / local store into an empty building. We've been complimented numerous times, plus welcomed to the neighborhood by the people who live close by. They seem very happy to have a small, local business move in and have become customers.
How has the internet affected your business and how do you think it might affect your business in the future?
People have told us what a great website we have (www.sheilascaramel.com). More and more people are viewing it to find out about our coupons and specials. We have shipping available, so we get many orders through our website. These orders are normally shipped in a day.
In what area of your business do you invest the most energy?
Most of our energy is spent making caramel and baked goods, plus chatting with our customers. When people come for their first visit, they usually want to know what we're all about.
What words of wisdom would you offer to someone starting their own business?
You need to have a passion for what you do. Without that, you'll get tired of it and burn out. The hours are long, the work is hard and the pay isn't always good.
What’s your favorite saying or quotation?
Do it because you love it.
What inspires you?
I'm inspired by thoughts of my grandma. I picture her kitchen, and how she was always making something yummy. I wonder what she would think about the quantity of caramel we make and sell, about us having a restaurant and retail store that features her caramel, and about her picture being on the world wide web.
What is the most unusual customer comment you’ve had so far?
"Sinfully delicious! Caramel bacon makes me feel like I need to go to confession!"
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