The sweet tooths of Greater Boston have almost literally eaten poor Jeremy Spindler out of house and home.
They candy maker behind Spindler Confections has become a staple at area farmers markets since he started making small-batch sweets out of his residential kitchen in 2012—but he’s become a little too popular for his own good.
“The business has grown to the point where it’s kind of overtaken our house,” Spindler laughs. “Our kitchen is pretty much dedicated to the business now, and a lot of the basement, for storage, is dedicated to the business … we’re even using the dining room table for packaging sometimes. It’s just too much.”
Spindler began casually looking for local real estate out of which to sell his handmade caramels and chocolates about a year and a half ago, when he realized that he had two options: shut down (which, of course, he didn’t want to do) or take the risk and expand into a brick-and-mortar shop.
“[Opening a retail location] has always kind of been in the back of my mind since starting, but I didn’t know if it would ever actually get big enough to be able to do that,” Spindler says. He’s loved operating the business out of his home and says that both the people and government of Somerville have been incredibly accommodating to him. (In fact, he wouldn’t have been legally allowed to sell his candy out of a home kitchen in Cambridge.) But despite searching high and low for a location in the ‘Ville, he couldn’t find a building that was a good fit. “Everything was way too big, way too small, in really bad shape or way too expensive,” he says. “I just kind of realized, I’m not going to find anything in Somerville that’s going to work unless I’m willing to wait another five years.” Instead, he found an opening at 2257 Mass. Ave. in North Cambridge back in April, where he could be selling sweets by the end of the year.
When it opens, both candy production and retail sales will move out of Spindler’s home kitchen and into the new storefront. Hershey Park it ain’t; at roughly 540 square feet, the space is still tight, and Spindler says he’s had to make the most of every inch. Still, the shop doesn’t feel cramped, and there’s ample shelving to accommodate the candies as well as some candy cookbooks, raw ingredients (many of them local), basic candy making supplies and sugary gift items. (Think a sweets-centric version of the Boston Shaker—one run by Willy Wonka.)
Spindler is even paying homage to the area’s chocolatey roots with a “candy museum” of sorts. “There’s just such a crazy, crazy rich history of candy making in this area, and I feel like a lot of it has been forgotten,” he says. He’s been scouring the Internet for artifacts from sweet-making pioneers like Schrafft’s, a now-nonexistent Charlestown candy company, and NECCO, which opened the largest candy factory in the world on Mass. Ave. in 1927, and has turned up tins, boxes, advertisements and even a few stock certificates from the 1800s that will soon decorate the walls and shelves of the shop.
As with any new business venture, Spindler knows that he’s taking a big risk. But judging from the support he’s received from his fans—including a Kickstarter campaign that helped him raise more than $10,000—this brick-and-mortar shop will taste sweet success.