FAIRMONT - There's a lot of factors involved in starting a new business. A great location, a unique idea and a staff dedicated to success might start off the list. CJ's Sweet Sensations combines all three of those factors.
Coleen Schock and her daughter, Jocelyn Foty, took the plunge into the small business world last month when they started designing gifts out of candy.
Located in Dee's Floral and Design on Downtown Plaza in Fairmont, on the south side of the former J&R Gift and Floral building, CJ's Sweet Sensations is situated in an ideal spot to attract the attention of downtown shoppers. It's a familiar building for Schock, who worked at J&R almost 16 years.
Jocelyn Foty, left, and Coleen Schock display one of the candy creations featured at their new business, CJ’s Sweet Sensations, on Downtown Plaza in Fairmont.
"I'll get to see familiar faces," she said. "That means a lot when you're just starting out."
When J&R closed in December, the building was purchased by DeAnn Eversman and Brenda Buntjer. Buntjer soon will be relocating her salon on the newly remodeled north side of the building. Eversman, who worked in the floral department at J&R, already has opened her floral shop on the south side, and Sweet Sensations is housed in this area.
Schock and Foty admit a little apprehension about debuting their new business, but they are confident of their unusual product.
"We wanted to do some kind of business together," Foty said. She researched various ideas on the Internet, and they decided on candy arrangements.
"We wanted to try to do something different," Schock said.
They have a variety of designs available for sale, like fashion dolls with skirts made of candy suckers and ice cream soda glasses overflowing with small chocolate bars. Prices vary, depending on the time involved and the type of candy used.
Schock and Foty also welcome special orders, which can take anywhere from a couple of hours to several days to complete.
"It depends on how elaborate they want," Schock said. A recent order for a snowman, representing a character in a recent popular animated movie, took almost a week to complete by the time the right candy was obtained and formed into the character.
"We have to include a warning and list of ingredients," Schock said.
The warning alerts purchasers about wooden toothpicks or skewers used in some of the designs, and the ingredients list aids awareness for people with certain food allergies.
The two new business owners have a variety of promotional ideas for the upcoming months, including a monthly drawing for a candy bouquet.
"We'll be doing things for St. Patrick's Day, Mother's Day and the fishing opener," Foty said. "We hope to get a lot of business for Easter. We'll have ready-made Easter baskets."
CJ's Sweet Sensations also has a Facebook page featuring photographs of some of their creations.
Business hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to noon Saturday. The phone number is (507) 236-7727.