DOVER-FOXCROFT, Maine — Dover-Foxcroft’s downtown offerings are about to become a touch sweeter and more nostalgic — and just in time for the holidays.
Dexter resident Shelley Rumsey is opening Little Shoppe of Candy at 123 E. Main Street in Dover-Foxcroft. The new business, set to open in October, will offer a variety of retro candies, chocolate bars, jelly beans, gummy bears, fudge and other favorites.
Little Shoppe of Candy will be joining Dover-Foxcroft during a year when a cluster of businesses shuttered or changed ownership, new ones like Tap 62: The Lounge opened and some, like a children’s thrift store across the street, have changed locations. Small businesses sometimes find it challenging to survive in a rural town where income is limited for many families, but Rumsey hopes a candy shop will draw people and bring something different to downtown.
“Everybody likes candy,” she said. “There’s none around here. There’s a place in Greenville or you have to go to the coast.”
Rumsey has owned a business — Guardian Property Asset Management, which she runs with her husband — for 20 years, and she has a decade of experience in retail management, she said. She was looking for a new endeavor, something fun and sentimental, that could serve area residents, children and visitors alike.
Rumsey also saw Dover-Foxcroft as an appealing location because she plans to offer gift baskets and small items that might be nice for a patient staying at Mayo Hospital or someone traveling to the area for its campgrounds and other attractions, she said.
Little Shoppe of Candy will offer chocolates, gummy candies, several sugar-free options, rock candy and Ring Pops, old-time favorites such as Zagnut and root beer barrels and more, Rumsey said. Patrons can also buy tubs of Phenomenal Fudge from Shoreham, Vermont, and gourmet popcorn from City Pop in Denver, Colorado.
Rumsey is looking into acquiring needhams, which are dessert bars made with sugar, chocolate, coconut and potato that originated in Maine. Candles from The Peaceful Porch in Wedowee, Alabama, and teddy bears will also be available. Customers can call ahead if they need a personalized gift basket made, or they can purchase pre-made ones.
The store will also have a cotton candy machine and hot chocolate bar, Rumsey said.
“I’m going to do a board that says put your candy wishes on here,” she said. “If someone is looking for a certain item, I can try to order it.”
Rumsey, who also considered opening a toy store, is friends with Holly Kishbaugh, who owns Repeat After Me, a family consignment shop in downtown Dover-Foxcroft. The store does well, Rumsey said, and small businesses seem to support each other.
Rumsey has another friend who owns Chocolate Drop Candy Shoppe in Belfast, and he really enjoys running the business, she said. This gave her some reassurance that the candy shop would be a welcome addition to Dover-Foxcroft.
Rumsey was also seeking a fresh opportunity after work at Guardian Property Asset Management evolved over the past two years, she said. The business once worked for national companies and focused on foreclosures, but there are few properties to maintain because of the housing market. The Rumseys now work with private homeowners and offer carpentry, equipment hauling and other services.
Rumsey’s husband will continue to run the business while she focuses on the candy store.
The building that will house the new business, which will be on the first floor, has been getting an exterior facelift in recent weeks, said Rumsey, who is renting the space. Earlier this year, an opioid addiction treatment office was proposed there.
Rumsey will run Little Shoppe of Candy on her own to start, likely six days a week, she said. If the business draws enough interest, she would consider hiring an employee or two. Several high school students have asked about volunteer work and others about part-time jobs, she said.
Being a new business owner in Dover-Foxcroft is both exciting and scary, but the community’s response has been positive, Rumsey said. More than 100 people responded when she asked on a community Facebook page about favorite old-time candies.
She considered several locations in Dexter, but this building, despite being compact, felt like the one, she said.
“When I walked into this place, I thought, this is really cute,” she said. “It fits the look that I’m going for, and it’s small, but it’s cozy. I can fit a lot of candy in here. I’ve had people stop in and say, ‘The kids are so excited.’ So I like to hear that.”
For information, follow Little Shoppe of Candy, LLC, on Facebook.