How did you get into the industry?
My husband and I are native New Yorkers and although our childhoods had some sour and life-changing losses, we could both find joy in visits to our local corner store. If you are not from the city, you may not know that corner stores are like the community grocery store and every single one is stocked with the best candies at the check-out counter. When Anthony and I married we quickly identified our shared love for entrepreneurship, people, and community. When researching low-cost, “easy “to start businesses, candy stores frequently came up. When I first approached Anthony with this idea, he was not immediately thrilled but it did not take him long to catch the vision and eventually become fully invested in opening a candy store together.
What’s new in the business or the franchise model?
In April of this year Candy Connections, corporate location signed a year-long contract with the State of Delaware to provide career training and work opportunities to 20 youth in our community. Hired teens will work in one of three tracks: culinary, marketing, and entrepreneurship/direct sales. This grant is huge for our company as it provides us with the opportunity to have extra support with making cotton candy, managing social media outlets and sales associates at our kiosk. As this opportunity continues to grow, we look forward to how it will inevitably support our franchise model. Working with franchisees to establish similar models in their community and the ability to order packaged cotton candy from corporate instead of having the task of making it all in-house at our individual sites.
Where do you see opportunities or challenges in the business moving forward?
Scheduling your time as a franchisee will be a huge part of your success. Currently, we use a school’s commercial kitchen free of charge to make our product. We originally started in our house and prior to the pandemic would make products at our kiosk. Managing your back office (making product) and your front office (your kiosk) can be challenging. Scheduling your time and creating a realistic schedule that works for your business and personal responsibilities is huge.
What is your goal for the business moving forward?
This year we have been approached by Target twice to sell our product in their stores. We are very thoughtful about our franchises as we approach this opportunity. We would never sell to a retailer at a price that would negatively impact a franchise’s sale, but we also understand the brand recognition that will come with having our product available in Target. As exciting as a call from Target is, we are most excited and committed to supporting and opening several franchise locations within the next 5 years.
Talk to us about training and support. How do you deliver?
When working with a team of professionals we understand that everyone is an expert in something. At our training, we want to hear what you know and the things you do not know about how to successfully run a kiosk confectionery business we want to teach you. We both have a passion for training, and you can expect a fun, hands-on, easy-to-learn work environment with ongoing support as needed. We pride ourselves in being a phone call/text away.
What has been your most difficult moment in the franchise business?
My ongoing most difficult moment as a business owner is the desire to do more and not be able to. Recently my husband has taken on a full-time job that he just could not turn down and it keeps him away, we have a 2-year-old-son and a 6th grade daughter who is a competitive gymnast. Time often does not seem to be on my side. I would love to do another pop-up at a mall in PA that we were successful at last year and at our local beach. Realistically, I do not have the time or manpower to get- it done. One of my biggest recommendations to an onboarding franchisee is to make a realistic schedule and set achievable goals to avoid burnout. I’m also thrilled about meeting our future franchisees because I know they will be able to take our brand to places we physically couldn’t get to ourselves.
Define your Franchise Model:
A. Training and Support Model?
We have 2 weeks of training at our location and then hands-on training at yours. Support includes operational, marketing, and initial accounting assistance.
B. What is the Fee Structure?
Franchise Fee: $20,000
Estimated Minimum Initial Investment: $37,920 (with franchise fee)
Royalty Fee: 6% of Gross Revenue
C. Territory Definition?
50,000 to 100,000 people
What does your franchisee do in the business every day?
- · Placing orders for products needed to make cotton candy.
- · Making sugar.
- · Packaging cotton candy.
- · Labeling packages.
- · Delivering product to your kiosk.
- Social media marketing.
- Setting up your kiosk.
- Selling at your kiosk.
- Bank deposits!
Describe the ideal franchisee.
The ideal franchisee will be outgoing, organized, a “peoples person”, entrepreneurial, compassionate, community-focused, integral, hard-working and full of grit to push-forward when things aren’t easy or going according to plan, flexible, committed to excellence, creative and quick on their feet, inspirational.
What are your goals for your company in the future?
We look forward to building an app where customers can place custom orders to be fulfilled by franchises in their area. Brand recognition and marketing campaigns that speak to our commitment to making life sweeter for our customers and our community. Training programs staffed by local youth to provide the hands-on support needed by our franchisees from making cotton candy, local marketing, and sales support. For our brand to be recognized as a B-Corp company because of our balance of purpose and profit through our commitment to positive youth development and leadership opportunities within our organization.
For more information on the Candy Connections Franchise, please visit their website at www.candyconnectionsfranchise.com