Candy should probably be considered essential at all times. But now, in a pandemic when people rely on small joys to stay optimistic, it’s a relief that boutique food stores like Candyland are still open.
Candyland, an 88-year-old Twin Cities icon, is still up and running with delivery and curbside pickup options for its signature popcorn and candy, said Brenda Lamb, president of the business. Her aim now is to make sure her employees stay safe, and continue to get paid.
TCB: How has your work and Candyland changed or been disrupted by coronavirus?
Lamb: My job has changed very little. I normally have an 11- or 12-hour day, plus working before and after I arrive home. Now, I work a 10-hour day and work before and after being at the shop.
Q: Is Candyland still open? Have you lost business because of coronavirus?
A | We have four locations, and one is closed. We have lost a lot of the walk-in customers, and we’ve shortened hours in all of the other three shops. We have lost all corporate, wedding, and other big orders. But some places are offering curbside delivery and pickup, quarantine care packages, and the like.
Q: Is there anything you’re able to do right now to compensate for lost business or create new streams of revenue?
A | We have allowed a few customers in our shops at one time––only for weather reasons. We have offered curbside service with phone or website orders from the beginning. But as of Saturday, we closed the shop to customers for the safety of our employees. We will continue with curbside full service, with a smile. We also have offered a shipping deal for online orders.
Q: Do you anticipate business bouncing back quickly, or are you bracing for the worst?
A | I absolutely do. Being in business for 88 years, we are a generation shop and we have the best dedicated customers.
Q: Are you able to find any bright spots in this crisis?
A | I am hoping the customers that have never used our site will enjoy the products and service and continue to order in the future.
Q: Are you able to do any work from home? If so, what’s that setup look like?
A | I am doing what I normally do––working from home only for email work.
Q: What are some ways you’re keeping up morale for yourself and employees?
A | I am trying to give as many hours as possible to employees that need a paycheck that live on their own. Communication to employees is of utmost importance. When you stay connected and involve the staff with daily information, a unity is created. I have seen an eagerness at this time I have not seen before. We have been very blessed with a great staff.