Anyone who’s ever watched Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory has probably daydreamed about owning their own candy store. What a wonderful way to spend your day - bringing smiles to people’s faces as they pick out their favorite treats. There are no rules regarding the selection of products you can sell or how your business is designed. It’s all up to your imagination. And with the candy manufacturing industry generating $20 billion annually, many entrepreneurs have found “sweet” success.
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Learn how to start your own Candy Store and whether it is the right fit for you.
Start a candy store by following these 10 steps:
- Plan your Candy Store
- Form your Candy Store into a Legal Entity
- Register your Candy Store for Taxes
- Open a Business Bank Account & Credit Card
- Set up Accounting for your Candy Store
- Get the Necessary Permits & Licenses for your Candy Store
- Get Candy Store Insurance
- Define your Candy Store Brand
- Create your Candy Store Website
- Set up your Business Phone System
There is more to starting a business than just registering it with the state. We have put together this simple guide to starting your candy store. These steps will ensure that your new business is well planned out, registered properly and legally compliant.
Exploring your options? Check out other small business ideas.
STEP 1: Plan your business
A clear plan is essential for success as an entrepreneur. It will help you map out the specifics of your business and discover some unknowns. A few important topics to consider are:
- What are the startup and ongoing costs?
- Who is your target market?
- How much can you charge customers?
- What will you name your business?
Luckily we have done a lot of this research for you.
What are the costs involved in opening a candy store?
Once you’ve mapped out a business plan, you’ll have a better understanding of what type of building best meets your needs. Some confectioners have a separate facility for making their tasty treats, while others house everything in one location. The location of your storefront is critical to the success of your business. Take your time and select a space that’s easily accessible, has ample parking, and a good amount of foot traffic.
After choosing a location, you’ll be armed with the information needed to make your initial investments. Your needs will vary depending upon the specifics of your candy store. A few items you’ll need are:
- Confectioners equipment - specifics are defined by what type of candy you’re making. Many items can be purchased used for a fraction of the cost.
- Bulk candy display cases (if this is part of your business plan)
- Packaging for your candy - this should represent your brand and the name should be prominently displayed
- Display cases and shelves
- Cash register, credit card machine, and management software
Candy stores are supposed to be magical and exciting. Be sure to budget for proper design and decoration of the facility. The ambiance will not only lure customers in, it will keep them coming back. If interior design isn’t your forte, consider hiring an interior designer to assist you. First impressions mean everything. Before opening your doors, fulfill your staffing needs and train them properly. Consider it an investment in your business goals.
Read our candy store purchasing guide to learn about the materials and equipment you'll need to start a candy store, how much to budget, and where to make purchases.
What are the ongoing expenses for a candy store?
Ongoing expenses include product and inventory costs, rent, electricity, and insurance. Labor and payroll taxes will prove to be your largest monthly expense. You’ll also need to dedicate a portion of your budget to marketing campaigns, which help ensure your continued presence within the community.
Who is the target market?
There are few people who don’t enjoy a sweet treat on occasion. Even if your vision is for a specialty candy store, try to offer a variety of options that will appeal to each demographic.
How does a candy store make money?
Candy store customers visit the store and select items for purchase. The store takes a profit off each sale. Some candy stores partner with other small, local businesses who wish to maintain an inventory of the candy shop’s treats. This is a mutually beneficial relationship and is an effective way to network with other entrepreneurs in the community.
How much can you charge customers?
Prices vary depending upon the product and packaging size. A bar of chocolate could retail for $4.50, while you might charge $55 for a larger box of candy. Prices should be set based on cost, labor, and competitor pricing.
How much profit can a candy store make?
The average American consumes, on average, almost 24 pounds of candy annually, with no signs of slowing down. Candy shops earn a profit based on revenue generated, minus all overhead and labor costs. Averages vary depending upon geographical location and your specific business model.
How can you make your business more profitable?
There are a number of tactics candy shop entrepreneurs can introduce to yield higher earnings:
- Offer candy gift baskets, both for pickup and delivery
- Accept custom orders for consumers hosting special events
- When looking to build supplier relationships, turn to small, local candy makers. This builds professional relationships within the community and creates a positive image amongst consumers
- Offer seasonal treats for the holidays
- Sell ice cream and/or frozen yogurt, particularly during the off-season months
- Host birthday parties and private events. Candy buffets for weddings and graduation parties have gained popularity over the last decade
- Invite children into your manufacturing facility for field trips
- Host candy-making classes
- Sell wholesale to local grocers, restaurants, and specialty food stores
What will you name your business?
Choosing the right name is important and challenging. If you don’t already have a name in mind, visit our How to Name a Business guide or get help brainstorming a name with our Candy Store Name Generator
When registering a business name, we recommend researching your business name by checking:
- Your state's business records
- Federal and state trademark records
- Social media platforms
- Web domain availability.
It's very important to secure your domain name before someone else does.
STEP 2: Form a legal entity
Establishing a legal business entity such as an LLC or corporation protects you from being held personally liable if your candy store is sued.
Form Your LLC
Read our Guide to Form Your Own LLC
Recommended: You will need to elect a registered agent for your LLC. LLC formation packages usually include a free year of registered agent services. You can choose to hire a registered agent or act as your own.
STEP 3: Register for taxes
You will need to register for a variety of state and federal taxes before you can open for business.
In order to register for taxes you will need to apply for an EIN. It's really easy and free!
You can acquire your EIN for free through the IRS website, via fax, or by mail. If you would like to learn more about EINs and how they can benefit your LLC, read our article, What is an EIN?.
Small Business Taxes
Depending on which business structure you choose, you might have different options for how your business will be taxed. For example, some LLCs could benefit from being taxed as an S corporation (S corp).
You can learn more about small business taxes in these guides:
- LLC Taxes
- Sole Proprietorship vs LLC
- LLC vs Corporation
- LLC vs S Corp
- How to Start an S Corp
- S Corp vs C Corp
There are specific state taxes that might apply to your business. Learn more about state sales tax and franchise taxes in our state sales tax guides.
STEP 4: Open a business bank account & credit card
Using dedicated business banking and credit accounts is essential for personal asset protection.
When your personal and business accounts are mixed, your personal assets (your home, car, and other valuables) are at risk in the event your business is sued. In business law, this is referred to as piercing your corporate veil.
Additionally, learning how to build business credit can help you get credit cards and other financing in your business's name (instead of yours), better interest rates, higher lines of credit, and more.
Open a business bank account
Besides being a requirement when applying for business loans, opening a business bank account:
- Separates your personal assets from your company's assets, which is necessary for personal asset protection.
- Makes accounting and tax filing easier.
Recommended: Read our Best Banks for Small Business review to find the best national bank or credit union.
Open net 30 accounts
Net 30 accounts are used to establish and build business credit as well as increase business cash flow. With a net 30 account, businesses buy goods and repay the full balance within a 30-day term.
NetMany net 30 credit vendors report to the major business credit bureaus (Dun & Bradstreet, Experian Business, and Equifax Business Credit). This is how businesses build business credit so they can qualify for credit cards and other lines of credit.
Recommended: Read our best net 30 vendors, guide and start building business credit.
Get a business credit card
Getting a business credit card helps you:
- Separate personal and business expenses by putting your business' expenses all in one place.
- Build your company's credit history, which can be useful to raise money later on.
Recommended: Apply for an easy approval business credit card from Divvy and build your business credit quickly.
STEP 5: Set up business accounting
Recording your various expenses and sources of income is critical to understanding the financial performance of your business. Keeping accurate and detailed accounts also greatly simplifies your annual tax filing.
Make LLC accounting easy with our LLC Expenses Cheat Sheet.
STEP 6: Obtain necessary permits and licenses
Failure to acquire necessary permits and licenses can result in hefty fines, or even cause your business to be shut down.
State & Local Business Licensing Requirements
Establishments that prepare/sell food are randomly inspected by the local health department on a regular basis. These inspections will check for compliance with local health laws, typically related to prevention of food contamination.
Most businesses are required to collect sales tax on the goods or services they provide. To learn more about how sales tax will affect your business, read our article, Sales Tax for Small Businesses.
Candy Store businesses may also wish to look into applying for a resale certificate, which allows retailers to purchase goods intended for resale without paying sales tax.
For more information about local licenses and permits:
- Check with your town, city or county clerk’s office
- Get assistance from one of the local associations listed in US Small Business Associations directory of local business resources
In order to play music in a business setting, permission must be acquired from the composer or license holder. Typically, it is possible to obtain a “blanket” license allowing a businesses to play music owned by a large catalog of artists and recording studios. Such licenses can be obtained from Performance Rights Organizations, such as ASCAP or BMI.
Certificate of Occupancy
A candy store is generally run out of a small retail location. Businesses operating out of a physical location typically require a Certificate of Occupancy (CO). A CO confirms that all building codes, zoning laws and government regulations have been met.
- If you plan to lease a retail location:
- It is generally the landlord’s responsibility to obtain a CO.
- Before leasing, confirm that your landlord has or can obtain a valid CO that is applicable to a Candy Store.
- After a major renovation, a new CO often needs to be issued. If your place of business will be renovated before opening, it is recommended to include language in your lease agreement stating that lease payments will not commence until a valid CO is issued.
- If you plan to purchase or build your candy shop:
- You will be responsible for obtaining a valid CO from a local government authority.
- Review all building codes and zoning requirements for you business’ location to ensure your candy store business will be in compliance and able to obtain a CO.
STEP 7: Get business insurance
Just as with licenses and permits, your business needs insurance in order to operate safely and lawfully. Business Insurance protects your company’s financial wellbeing in the event of a covered loss.
There are several types of insurance policies created for different types of businesses with different risks. If you’re unsure of the types of risks that your business may face, begin with General Liability Insurance. This is the most common coverage that small businesses need, so it’s a great place to start for your business.
Learn more about General Liability Insurance.
Another notable insurance policy that many businesses need is Workers’ Compensation Insurance. If your business will have employees, it’s a good chance that your state will require you to carry Workers' Compensation Coverage.
STEP 8: Define your brand
Your brand is what your company stands for, as well as how your business is perceived by the public. A strong brand will help your business stand out from competitors.
If you aren't feeling confident about designing your small business logo, then check out our Design Guides for Beginners, we'll give you helpful tips and advice for creating the best unique logo for your business.
If you already have a logo, you can also add it to a QR code with our Free QR Code Generator. Choose from 13 QR code types to create a code for your business cards and publications, or to help spread awareness for your new website.
How to promote & market a candy store
When creating your marketing strategy, consider the products you offer. Is there a specific target market that comes to mind when you ponder the benefits of your candy? If so, aim for that niche. Learn everything you can about them. Are there any untapped opportunities you should consider in expansion? How can you best convey the message that your product stands out above the competition? What marketing techniques most appeal to them and what do they dislike?
Your marketing strategies should be diverse, reaching your audience with a clear message. Advertisements in community newsletters are an effective way of reaching locals, particularly when a coupon is included. Be sure you’re listed in all the search engine business directories, and create an account with Yelp. Ask customers to post a review of their visit and listen when they provide feedback. As with any small business, a social media presence is a simple (and free) way to reach out to consumers and share special events and sales.
How to keep customers coming back
Word of mouth is often a business’ most powerful marketing tool. Ensure you attract repeat customers by delivering a consistently quality product every time. Staff your candy store with outgoing and energetic employees and express your mission and goals for the business.
The candy industry is seasonal, with sales dropping off during the summer months. June is National Candy Month. In fact, each month has at least two national holidays centered around candy. Use these as an opportunity to plan fun events. Invite consumers to attend for a sampling of tasty treats, special sales, and a chance to win special prizes. Build excitement leading up to the event by promoting it in the weeks leading up.
Due to the wholesale manufacturing competition, online sales are competitive. To properly serve all your customers, maintaining a website is suggested. Do not, however, expect record sales, as most candy shop owners report minimal sales.
Still unsure about what kind of business you want to start? Check out the latest Small Business Trends to help inspire you.
STEP 9: Create your business website
After defining your brand and creating your logo the next step is to create a website for your business.
While creating a website is an essential step, some may fear that it’s out of their reach because they don’t have any website-building experience. While this may have been a reasonable fear back in 2015, web technology has seen huge advancements in the past few years that makes the lives of small business owners much simpler.
Here are the main reasons why you shouldn’t delay building your website:
- All legitimate businesses have websites - full stop. The size or industry of your business does not matter when it comes to getting your business online.
- Social media accounts like Facebook pages or LinkedIn business profiles are not a replacement for a business website that you own.
- Website builder tools like the GoDaddy Website Builder have made creating a basic website extremely simple. You don’t need to hire a web developer or designer to create a website that you can be proud of.
Using our website building guides, the process will be simple and painless and shouldn’t take you any longer than 2-3 hours to complete.
STEP 10: Set up your business phone system
Getting a phone set up for your business is one of the best ways to help keep your personal life and business life separate and private. That’s not the only benefit; it also helps you make your business more automated, gives your business legitimacy, and makes it easier for potential customers to find and contact you.
There are many services available to entrepreneurs who want to set up a business phone system. We’ve reviewed the top companies and rated them based on price, features, and ease of use. Check out our review of the Best Business Phone Systems 2022 to find the best phone service for your small business.
Recommended Business Phone Service: Phone.com
Phone.com is our top choice for small business phone numbers because of all the features it offers for small businesses and it's fair pricing.
Start a Candy Store in your State
- District of Columbia
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
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Is this Business Right For You?
Individuals who are passionate about becoming confectioners or chocolatiers and enjoy sharing their decadent creations with others would be an ideal fit for this business venture. With so many specialty candy options available, long-term success is reliant on your ability to determine what sweet treats are valued most in your community and creating a business plan around those desires.
Want to know if you are cut out to be an entrepreneur?
Take our Entrepreneurship Quiz to find out!
What happens during a typical day at a candy store?
As owner of a candy store, most days you’ll be involved in the following activities:
- Maintaining inventory supply and placing orders
- Building positive relationships with vendor representatives, your staff, neighboring businesses, and customers
- Cooking and packaging candy/chocolates
- Restocking shelves
- Managing the staff
- Building a marketing strategy
- Maintaining accurate accounting records
- Researching new industry opportunities and trends
Your exact duties will vary, depending upon how your business is structured. Will you make the candy in-house or purchase from suppliers? Will the candy be available in bulk or prepackaged in smaller containers? Do you plan to specialize in one area, or will your customers have access to a variety of different treats?
Once you’ve built a team you can count on, your employees will care for many of the day-to-day activities. Your focus can then shift towards managing your workforce and promoting and expanding your candy store.
What are some skills and experiences that will help you build a successful candy store?
Like any successful entrepreneur, you should be business-minded and competitive, with a strong work ethic. Since you’ll be interacting with clients and managing your staff, strong interpersonal skills and a knack for listening is beneficial. This will help you identify what’s working and what’s not, within your business, so you can adjust accordingly. There will be many moving parts to the business, so strong management skills and the ability to delegate are critical to your survival. Retail management experience, along with physical stamina, organizational, and decision-making skills are also beneficial.
A candy store’s success is defined by the quality and taste of the products you serve. If homemade candy is your vision, you should be creative and well-versed, regarding what spices and foods complement each other.
The National Confectioners Association offers members information regarding the latest industry trends, advice on how to grow your business, as well as data and consumer insights. The Professional Manufacturing Confectioners Association offers courses to further perfect your candy-making skills.
What is the growth potential for a candy store?
The larger candy manufacturers have an advantage over smaller businesses, making the industry quite competitive. Successful candy store owners suggest a well thought-out business plan before entering the business. Thorough research, regarding the need for your product in an area, your target marketing audience, and future growth plans will help drive your business’ success. Start small and take the time to understand your clients' most burning desires. By catering to these needs, your business has the potential to grow into a booming business. Stores such as Peterbrooke Chocolatiers have realized great success through their knowledge of the industry and, as a result, are offering franchise opportunities across the U.S.
Take the Next Step
Find a business mentor
One of the greatest resources an entrepreneur can have is quality mentorship. As you start planning your business, connect with a free business resource near you to get the help you need.
Having a support network in place to turn to during tough times is a major factor of success for new business owners.
Learn from other business owners
Want to learn more about starting a business from entrepreneurs themselves? Visit Startup Savant’s startup founder series to gain entrepreneurial insights, lessons, and advice from founders themselves.
Resources to Help Women in Business
There are many resources out there specifically for women entrepreneurs. We’ve gathered necessary and useful information to help you succeed both professionally and personally:
If you’re a woman looking for some guidance in entrepreneurship, check out this great new series Women in Business created by the women of our partner Startup Savant.
How and when to build a team
Building your team early on is recommended. If you’re manufacturing your own candy, employ your kitchen staff as soon as your kitchen is ready. Consistency will help ensure customers visit again.
Before you open your doors to the public, hire and train your front of the house staff. Many employ high school and college students for these positions, as they demand less compensation. Remember, your staff is a direct representation of your brand - take your time and hire wisely.
Read our candy store hiring guide to learn about the different roles a candy store typically fills, how much to budget for employee salaries, and how to build your team exactly how you want it.
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