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Unsung Heroes: Jennifer Rolley, Owner at Sweet Shoppe Candy Store

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Jennifer Rolley and Wrigley

Even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Flagstaff residents know they can find a bit of comfort in the sugar-filled display cases of Sweet Shoppe Candy Store. The colorful downtown shop closed its doors to the public for 40 days beginning in March, offering delivery and curbside pickup orders while safety and sanitation measures were put into place, and the community showed up to support the family business.

“We had a record number of call-in orders and deliveries during that 40-day period, and we just entered our 10th year last week,” owner Jennifer Rolley proudly said.

Now allowing in-person shopping again, the Sweet Shoppe welcomed back all of its 20-plus employees and is limiting the amount of customers allowed inside at a time, with a line often forming at the door for people waiting their turn to enter.

“The people who are coming to the store are looking for something fun,” Rolley said.

And even those who still prefer to do curbside pickup can get a peek at the inventory, as the shop plans to roll out virtual shopping experiences in order to give all customers a treat for their eyes as well as their stomachs.

“Candy is very visual,” Rolley said. “I mean, who ever thought of personal shopping at a candy store? But we’re trying to have fun and have a good experience while we all go through this.”

An active social media presence on both Instagram and Facebook offers behind-the-scenes glimpses into the business with colorful photos sure to entice anyone’s sweet tooth.

Rolley recognizes that Flagstaff is unique in its amount of small businesses, which make up much of the city’s shopping environment. She has found this unknown future has brought with it a stronger sense of community among fellow downtown shops as communication has grown, something she hopes will continue on the other side of the pandemic.

“Through this trying time there’s always positivity,” she said. “As a business owner, if I can make someone’s day a little better with a caramel apple or a big ol’ chunk of fudge, not only am I making their day better but they’re helping the morale of myself and our staff. I think that’s where our little niche is, being a little escape from day-to-day COVID.”

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