For this week’s #ShopFranklin Spotlight, I met with Courtney Nappa of The Sugar Shoppe!
Sweets make people happy, and the Sugar Shoppe’s sweets do double duty. In addition to being tasty, everything sold at the Sugar Shoppe helps out local families in need by acting as a standing fundraiser for the nonprofit organization founded by Courtney and her husband. “We didn’t come into it thinking store first,” says Courtney. “We came in thinking nonprofit first, and how to raise money… on a consistent basis.” Their organization, Make Change for Change, has the long-term goal of providing permanent housing for homeless women and children, particularly veterans and those affected by domestic violence, substance abuse, or mental illness, and currently works with several partner beneficiaries to help those in need.
As part of the process of getting Make Change for Change up and running, Courtney started to look for office space and soon found the small storefront on Union Street where the Sugar Shoppe is now located. As she set up her office, she began to think, “Wouldn’t it be great if we just sold something out of here while I’m here anyway?” Since Courtney had always wanted to own a candy shop and Franklin didn’t have one, candy was the natural choice and the Sugar Shoppe was born. The concept is simple: whatever the candy sales bring in, over and above the business’ overhead costs, goes directly into the Make Change for Change fund. Courtney tries to keep the overhead as low as possible so that the maximum amount of money can go to the nonprofit, so the Sugar Shoppe is staffed by Courtney herself and a team of volunteers. “Most people are in the business to make money – in our case we happened to come into this backwards!” says Courtney.
Right now, the Sugar Shoppe sells a basic selection of candies with a few special additions. Courtney is particularly proud of carrying Cocopotamus truffles, which are exclusive to the Sugar Shoppe on the East Coast. Cocopotamus truffles are well-known on the West Coast as the truffles given to celebrities in their luxurious Oscar and Emmy goody bags, but they’re so good they deserve to be better known on the East Coast, and Courtney’s doing her best to make that happen. “The inside’s just so decadent,” Courtney says, and she also loves the quirky flavor names (like “Sumos Never Sleep,” a Japanese green tea-dark chocolate truffle). The Sugar Shoppe also carries fudge and peppermint bark from Winfrey’s in Newburyport, and Courtney’s always on the lookout for other great local products to add. “No matter what you like, you can get something here!”
“We want to keep the fun going here,” Courtney says, and 2016 will see the Sugar Shoppe partnering up with Franklin Liquors for a couple of wine and chocolate pairing classes. On a more practical level, Courtney’s also paired up with Chestnut Dental, which provides free toothbrush kits to Sugar Shoppe customers. Coming soon, the Sugar Shoppe will have some souvenirs and clothing to sell, and Courtney hopes to eventually rent a commercial kitchen space so that the Sugar Shoppe can create its own confections. She has big plans for the Sugar Shoppe’s eventual growth, including a move to a bigger space where they can add coffee and baked goods to their offerings, but she knows “it’s going to take a while to get where we’re going.”
As the Make Change for Change fund grows, Courtney and her husband plan to use their backgrounds in real estate and property management to use the fund for the purchase, renovation, and maintenance of permanent housing for homeless women and children. Courtney says that Make Change for Change is awaiting its official 501(c)(3) status as a federally registered charity, so in the meantime, they’re working with other local organizations to provide “a little bit of happiness, a little bit of sweetness” to families in need. Most recently, the Sugar Shoppe teamed up with Horizons for Homeless Children, a Boston non-profit which provides daycare and preschool services to families affected by homelessness, for a Christmas gingerbread house extravaganza. The Sugar Shoppe led a team of volunteers in building gingerbread houses, provided all the candy trimmings, and delivered everything to Horizons’ centers for the kids to decorate. They’ve also recently put together gift baskets to bring some happiness to women at Rosie’s Place, a Boston women’s shelter.
Overall, Courtney just wants to make sure the Franklin community knows that when they buy treats at the Sugar Shoppe, the money’s going to a good cause. “This is where we’re starting,” she says. “It’s cool that we’re starting here in Franklin and it’s fun to have the community be able to help us get off the ground.”
The Sugar Shoppe is located at 334 Union Street in Franklin. Check out their website and Facebook page for more info, and for more beautiful photos of the shop, visit Focus Designs & Photos’ #ShopFranklin Photo Spotlight on the Sugar Shoppe!