Since September of 2021, the Amery Schweet Stop has been serving up a colorful mix of exotic and nostalgic candies—everything from old-school candy cigarettes to “Lil’ Nitro, The World’s Hottest Gummy Bear.” After nearly two and a half years of memories between the business’s two locations, owners Jessica and Tiffany Schmidt recounted their journey towards opening a business, their community impact, and their secret to social media fame.
Jessica and Tiffany have been married since 2007 and have lived in Hammond for eight years. The Schweet Stop’s first location on Baldwin’s main street launched in June of 2020. The decision to make the business a candy shop was fairly spontaneous. As Tiffany explained, “We wanted to be in business for ourselves for a long time, but getting to that particular business plan ended up happening only months before we opened our doors. We did it backwards: we found a location first and then decided what we wanted to do with that space.”
Jessica recalled the moment that sparked their plans into action. “We were driving around with our sister-in-law, and we were like, ‘Why don’t we do a candy shop?’ And we laughed, like ‘Yeah, right! That’s a pipe dream.’ But then it got really quiet, and we were like… ‘Wait a minute, why don’t we?’”
Tiffany explained that the mid-COVID opening presented a unique set of challenges and opportunities to the business. “It was the in heart of the pandemic. It was a time where we
thought people really need something positive. Something nostalgic, something outside of what they’re dealing with. So, we were like, ‘Let’s do it! Let’s see if we can make it happen.’”
Although a slow opening is traditionally a foreboding proposition for small businesses, the uncertain times gave the owners a chance to learn the ropes a bit smoother. “The challenges became our blessings, because we had the opportunity to get our feet wet. Not that either of us had never managed a business before—we both had—but we had a chance to navigate the new challenges as owners of a business.”
Throughout 2020, the owners’ priority was creating a safe and comfortable environment. Jessica explained the precautions and goals of the business as they found their footing. “Our hope was that people came in and forgot about the outside for a second. When you walk through our threshold, you see something from your childhood, and immediately go back to those happy thoughts. That’s what our goal was: For people to come in, be blissful for a minute, think of those great memories and create new ones with your kids, with your grandkids.”
However, the owners did not want to limit their shop’s experience to nostalgia—offering new and popular candy was also a high priority. One of the main avenues of finding and promoting current candy trends is social media; across Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok, The Schweet Stop has amassed nearly 17 thousand followers.
Jessica explained that this development did was not a part of their original business plan. “A customer online reached out to us and said, ‘You should really have a TikTok—it’s more kid-focused.’ So we were like, ‘let’s try it, let’s see.’ And it blew up! A lot of our online sales are contributed to TikTok.”
TikTok has become the business’ most popular social media, with over 12 thousand followers and 56 thousand likes. The account announces new products, popular treats, and giveaway contests in short videos.
Tiffany explained that social media is vital not just in advertising their own products but also in keeping up with the interests of their audience. “It became a good market for us. The new things and the trends that the kids are after are driven by these videos. That’s where their focus is. [TikTok] is where we were able to find—and try to get ahead of—what they’re looking for.”
Giving every generation an equal opportunity for excitement is a vital goal of the Schweet Stop. As Tiffany clarified, “We want everyone to have that whole range of experiences here.” Some of Jessica’s favorite memories of working in the shop come from the interactions between generations. “I love the grandparents that will grab a box of 1960’s candy and sit down with their grandkids and try it together. They have this experience, this memory, that will hopefully last a lifetime.”
The Schweet Stop is also focused on bringing their support to the community at large. Through experience, Tiffany has found that the most important part of a new business is outreach and involvement. “Small businesses have to be invested in their community. For us, that is our number one priority.”
One of the most consistent community events is the Schweet Stop monthly bingo night, a free event with donations towards the Amery Food Pantry. Jessica explained that having a constant avenue to engage with the community is extremely important. “Bingo nights are huge for us. It’s important to help the food pantry and it’s also fun just to have something to do with the community.”
As Tiffany explained, the business is currently in the process of deciding the next step forward. “We have had a strong push to consider changing our location here. We have also had people ask for us to introduce some original creations, which we’re open to exploring.”
In the past two years, Jessica and Tiffany have provided every generation another taste of their childhood. Through community engagement, innovative outreach, and exceptionally wacky products, the Schweet Stop has given Amery a rich new flavor.
The Schweet Stop’s next bingo night will be Tuesday, October 18th at 7:00 PM. RSVP is required through the Schweet Stop Facebook page in order to participate in bingo but is not required to donate to the Food Pantry.
Welcome to the discussion.
Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.