From candies shaped like Legos for little kids and sea salt-caramel dark chocolates for big kids, a new shop in Reedley is bringing all kinds of yummy to town.
“Reedley?!” I can just hear my Fresno readers grumbling.
Yes, Reedley. If you’re the type to seek out interesting local businesses and don’t mind a little drive, you might like this place. Maybe make an afternoon of it and have lunch and shopping while you’re there.
The store I’m talking about is Sweet Destination at 1115 G St. It’s part coffee shop, part candy store, part toy store and part gift shop. If that seems like a lot, it’s because there’s a lot going on at this store.
When you first walk in, it’s a coffee shop, with coffee from Lanna Coffee in Fresno and tea from L.T. Sue Co. in Hanford. Tables are made from signs, including a stop sign and a railroad crossing sign.
“People can sit at our tables and have a hot cup of coffee or tea and have a snack – there’s plenty of snacks,” says Sweet Destination owner Shelly Henderson, who opened the store in late October with with her husband, Mike.
A counter holds cupcakes (Kahlúa coffee cupcakes with hazelnut buttercream frosting, anyone?) chocolate chip cookies and other pastries. Large amounts can be special ordered for events. They are made by Martha Macias, head of the home economics department at Dinuba High School.
Henderson was also a teacher for almost three decades. Though she has the demeanor of a friendly kindergarten teacher, she spent most of her time with students at Dinuba High. More on that in a moment.
Walk a little farther into Sweet Destination and you’ll see the large display of chocolates from Stafford’s Chocolates in Porterville. The most popular are those sea salt caramels – in dark or milk chocolate – and lemon truffles.
The Hendersons also created a “dipping room” where they plan to make chocolate-dipped strawberries and other goodies.
The shop also sells several types of nuts in bulk, along with candy, including traditional candy and specialties like Jelly Belly popcorn-flavored jelly beans and those Lego-shaped candies.
“They stick together and you can actually build a structure and eat them,” Henderson says.
And then there are the gift-type foods: Christmas colored popcorn, dried fruit, retro candies and more that can be dressed up as gifts or put into gift baskets. Some of those foods are local, like dried peaches from Simonian Farms in Fresno and honey from Bradshaw Farms in Visalia.
The store has done brisk business in the days before Christmas. It will close for a week starting Dec. 25 and reopen Monday Jan. 2.
This store has been a long time coming. See, Henderson is a planner. She has her master’s in business but spent decades at Dinuba High School as a teacher, the activities director and student council adviser.
She knew early on that she wanted to run her own business someday.
“It’s been my love and passion, planning for the last nine years,” she says.
Yes, nine years.
It’s been my love and passion, planning for the last nine years.
Sweet Destination owner Shelly Henderson
That’s when she first bought some display cases for candy. The couple built a shed on their home’s five acres in the country to store it and vintage discoveries you see around the store like the old school Maytag wringer washer that holds bags of popcorn.
They bought the building six years ago on Reedley’s main drag with plans to open a store there.
After Henderson guided her replacement at the high school into transition, she and Mike retired in May and opened the shop this fall.
The rest of the shop is geared toward kids and mommies, with gifts appropriate for baby showers on up to older kids – 12 years old.
Some of the toys are retro or wooden, like wooden pick-up sticks or the line from Melissa & Doug. A line of children’s books called Indestructibles can withstand chewing, the bathtub and toddlers’ clumsiness.
Other toys are kits where a child can do something, frost a fake cupcake, make sock puppets, etc.. Kids and parents are encouraged to try out some of the toys, with a play area.
“We’ve had grandmas sit on the floor and play,” Henderson says.
Sweet Destination is open from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays and closed on Sundays.