(Logo taken from Jen’s blog, https://lifeafterlemons.com)
How did you get started making candy?
JS: Back when I was twelve we went to a candy making party that one of my aunts or cousins was having and I really took a liking to it. My mom supported it and got me a starter kit and I just took off from there.
I took some time off from making candy when I was married because it wasn’t a big deal then. So I’ve started it up again since my divorce since it was a relaxing thing. But my mom is the one that got me started and supported me through all that. She’s the one that taught me my caramel recipe I use. She and I worked on that together. My caramel recipe is really well known around here and I’ve been asked to jar it.
I use local when I can so my apples and my strawberries are from Bush N’ Vine. That’s their mountain apples and their winter strawberries.
JS: Lack of communication with….pretty much with the city. Being a new owner there was not a lot, I feel like the city and the chamber should have a new business owner type packet to let you know what’s going on or to let them know what’s expected of them. Summerfest in August did not go well because of lack of communication. There were a few other things that did not go well because of lack of communication.
(Jen went on to explain that the positive part of this struggle is that the officials are willing to listen and that she has a meeting with the mayor to discuss solutions. She was pleased with her ability to have a voice and is actively working to help with solutions regarding communication between the city and downtown business owners.)
JS: My fear is being out on the street because I live upstairs too. I wake up in the mornings, get myself ready, and I’m down here.
The kids coming in. The kids that have never been here before, as soon as they walk through the door, I should really just have a video camera to capture the look on their faces. That makes it worth the struggle right there. Some of my regulars, their kids come over here (behind the counter) and they hug me before they leave. That’s what keeps me going.
What drew you to be downtown? To live and work in downtown?
JS: The idea I had in my head for a candy store, it was not going to work at a strip mall, anything like that, because it’s the old time feel. So I knew I needed a historical district. I have friend who lives down here, so when I was looking for a spot, she’s like come to York. I think it’s where you need to be. And even now, I walk outside and I’m amazed at the beauty of the town.
We talked about all sorts of things, her candies, her Oops! Bags, and we were winding down….
JS: …..I love what I do. Even though it’s stressful, it’s less stress than I had in the corporate world because it’s stress I can control.
Jen and I spent awhile together, talking both about candy and about writing, life in York, and all sorts of good bits of conversation. I mean, it’s a candy store, people! Go visit she shop and chat her up yourself or read more about her journey at lifeafterlemons.com