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Turning a sweet passion into an even sweeter career

Sweet Treats Candies & Sweets recently opened in Kaukauna

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February 10, 2023

KAUKAUNA – Twenty-two years ago, when Stacey Hummell was looking for something additional to do in her spare time to make some extra change, she said she started to bake – a lot.

“At the time, I was working for an insurance company,” she said. “I started creating some recipes and went from there. (I made) a post at work to see if anybody would be interested in ordering (baked goods), and that took off like crazy. That was in 2000.”

Hummell said what started as an inquiry to gauge the interest of her co-workers’ love for desserts turned into a full-fledged storefront by 2023, with last month’s opening of Sweet Treats Candies & Sweets’ at 150 E. Second St. in Kaukauna.?

Making the transition
Before opening the Sweet Treats brick-and-mortar location, Hummell said she baked out of her house for the first 20 years, baking mainly during the holiday season and taking custom orders.

As a mother and a person in the workforce, she said there were times when it could get overwhelming – but said it was still fun and worth it.

About three years ago, the dessert artisan said she decided to leave her career in healthcare and start baking full-time.

She rented a kitchen in the old Nicolet Public School, where people could rent out classrooms and other areas.

Though it was a step up, Hummell said the small space wasn’t the easiest to work with.

“It was maybe 400 square feet, if that,” she said. “So a very small space to work with.”

The commercial kitchen also made it harder to interact with customers, as Hummell said she could only do custom orders.

“I had so many people that would call and be like, ‘What are your hours? Can we just stop by?’” she said. “There wasn’t a place where people could go to look and see what I had to offer. I needed to spread out. I had been collecting equipment in my garage for the last three years waiting for a storefront.”

One of many offerings in the new Sweet Treats Candies & Sweets storefront (150 E. 2nd St.) is the gummy candy bar, with 42 different options to choose from. Submitted Photo

Eventually, she said she started looking for a permanent home to make and house her sweet treats.

Hummell said one of her daughter’s friends had been renting a space a few minutes away from the commercial kitchen and wasn’t using it.

“We went and looked at it, and 34 days later (Sweet Treats Candies & Sweets) was open,” she said. “It was one of those meant-to-be situations.”

She said the new storefront is more than four times larger than the commercial kitchen she was renting, at 1,700 square feet.
The process of opening, Hummell said, was full of “a lot of chaos.”

“It was December – my busiest month of the year,” she said. “It was a lot of work. A lot of 16-hour days, a lot of stress. A lot of money, for sure. But it was good, I have a big support system, so it all fell into place.”

Sweet Treats Candies & Sweets had its official grand opening Wednesday, Jan. 11.

One of the unique aspects of the shop, Hummell said, can be found hanging on its walls.

“I wanted to bring in a little nostalgia,” she said. “I have old cake pans hanging on the wall and old vintage cookie cutters hanging above the cookie cutters that we sell… some of my personal childhood collection kind of things.”

With all the recent changes, Hummell said the most difficult transition is getting used to having a staff.

“Having a staff makes me a little anxious and excited at the same time,” she said. “My recipes are so (important) to my business that I don’t want to hire people I don’t know. I’m afraid they might not do it the way I want to.”

An abundance of offerings
Sweet Treats offers cake pops and grandma’s chocolate chip cookie recipe, but the goodies don’t stop there.

Hummell said the shop offers hand-dipped chocolates – her 22-year-old recipe – a gummy buffet with 42 different types of gummy candy, old-fashioned candy sticks and a wide selection of Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream flavors with homemade waffle cones – just to name a few.

“(We offer) anything people need for birthdays, baby showers or wedding showers,” she said. “Or Christmas – any other holiday. We do special things for Valentine’s Day, we do a lot of chocolate-covered strawberries, and for Easter, we do one-pound-filled personalized chocolate eggs with different fillings.”

Out of all the options customers can choose from, Hummell said the best seller is her peanut butter balls.

“The peanut butter balls we made with my grandma and my mom when we were kids – we have those (at the shop),” she said. “That’s the number one best-seller of everything we have – those darn peanut butter balls. In the week before Christmas, we made more than 2,000.”

Sweet Treats Candies & Sweets also offers a selection of Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream flavors with homemade waffle cones. Submitted Photo

Hummell said for those who want to make some goodies themselves, the shop also has a section dedicated to baking and candy-making products. 

The future is sweet
At outdoor events during the summer, Hummell said she offers the typical fair concessions: funnel cakes, deep-fried Oreos and strawberries and mini donuts.

To add to the fair-food-feel, she said the shop also has a slushie machine and has made cotton candy in the past.

Even with a wide variety of options to fit everyone’s sweet tooth, Hummell said she has more ideas in mind for the future.

She said eventually she would like to get deep fryers for the storefront, so she can offer the summertime treats all year round.

“If people want that fair food experience without going to the fair or to a big festival, they can come in and get it here,” she said. “I would love to bring all those things we do in the summer into the shop.”

Overall, the long-time baker said opening a storefront in itself has been “huge.”

“It really was meant to be,” she said.

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