If you’re looking for a sweets haven, look no further than the freshly opened Sweet Candy + Gifts in the Outlets of Little Rock.
Run by Stephanie Harris, the store is a new addition to the local scene. “I want this shop to be different every time you come in, but still have all your favorites,” she says.
Harris, a Midwesterner by birth, has long considered Arkansas her home. Earlier this year she found herself in a position to consider the four or five business plans that have been swirling around her head for quite some time.
The idea for a sweet shop came to her nearly five years ago. “I thought that my sister and I could run a business together,” she says, “and she likes candy … I could never really get that idea out of my head.”
Someone mentioned that the Outlets of Little Rock was opening soon, so in August Harris incorporated and began making calls to vendors and distributors. “I asked friends on Facebook what they would want to see in a sweet shop,” she says.
This is how she discovered honey straws, which are just like they sound – honey packed in a straw shape in every flavor imaginable – pink lemonade, peach, chocolate, caramel, and much more.
The shop carries a certain nostalgic tone to it. Shelves are stacked full of Bubble Tape, candy cigarettes, and Pixie Stix. There is a solid wall of jelly bellies with flavors ranging from Dr. Pepper to Candy Apple. There’s even a build your own trail mix section for those who want a slightly healthier option.
Harris also has a line of old school sodas, which she believes has been the most fun to curate. “The goal was to stock sodas you couldn’t find in Kroger,” she says. After finding Orca Beverage in Seattle, she found a plethora of nostalgic drinks. Give the Lemmy Lemonade – Harris’ personal favorite – or butterscotch flavored root beer a try.
As often as possible, Harris stocks local products within her wares. She currently has Cocoa Rouge chocolates as well as Wicked Mix. She’ll eventually have Izard Chocolate, and there are talks in the work with local baker Zara Wilkerson to hopefully create something special for the storefront.
There are hopes to bring more international sweets to the store, as she currently has a few items – Italy’s Kinder Chocolate, sesame bars from Greece, and Peruvian Dona Pepa treats. Plus, if one of your favorites is missing, just let her know. Harris is all to happy to take requests and stock up on an item for you.
The gifts side of the business offers an eclectic smattering of t-shirts, novelties, and adult coloring books. Most of the merchandize supports Harris’ Women Lead Arkansas, a nonprofit created to get more women in government.
Although the nonprofit is separate, shirts with the WLA logo come with tags that give a small blurb about the nonprofit. “In the week that I’ve been out here I’ve reached more people on Women Lead Arkansas than ever,” she says.
Head out to Sweet Candy + Gifts to satiate your sweet tooth on Monday – Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.