February 14, 2014


Couple opens old school sweet shop

SweetBob Ellis/staff photographer
Abbi Simerson stands in her new candy store, Simerson’s Sweet Shoppe in the Marketplace Mall.

Staff Reporter

Nestled in the far corner of the Marketplace Mall’s first floor sits Simerson’s Sweet Shoppe, where owners Abbi and Carl Simerson recreated the feel of a quaint old-fashioned candy store in the heart of historic Downtown Cortland.
The Simersons opened on Feb. 1 and the couple confessed they love candy and said the idea of opening their business came from going on vacations where they always enjoyed going into the local candy shops.
“We wanted to bring some of that fun and happiness to Cortland,” Abbi Simerson said. “The retro, nostalgic-type candy, things you can’t find in a Walmart or a drug store.”
Carl Simerson said it only took between two and three months to prepare opening the 400-square-foot store.
Outside the tedious paperwork, Abbi Simerson said the most difficult part of getting started was finding those rare candies.
So among the familiar Twizzlers, Jelly Belly jelly beans and Hershey bars are some candies Abbi Simerson said a few of the older customers have not seen since they were children, like Turkish taffy, Satellite Wafers, Scooter Pies and Valomilk bars.
Simerson’s Sweet Shoppe also has a service called the Candy Buffet, where people who are planning events such as weddings, baby showers and graduation or birthday parties can receive consultation and have custom orders created to fit the special occasion.
“The candy buffet is (designed) to match the theme or the color-combination of your event,” Carl Simerson said. “If it’s a wedding, that’s easy to do. If it’s a graduation, you can bring school colors into play.”
“After the consultation, then I put together a quote,” Abbi Simerson said. “Your quote is basically based on your number of people and candy choices.”
The Simersons have been selling candy to all sorts of people since they opened at the beginning of the month, but Carl Simerson said without a doubt the most ecstatic customers who have been in the shop have been the children.
“We get a lot of positive feedback from the kids,” Carl Simerson said. “And it seems like they all gravitate toward the bulk rack.”
“I think we got a pretty good grasp of what they like,” Abbi Simerson said, “so now I’m going to work on getting some more quality ... chocolates in here.”
She added they plan on bringing more rare and gourmet candies to the shop and are considering expanding the inventory to include cookies and soda and other types of treats for people with a different type of sweet tooth.
“We’ll have a little something for everybody in here,” Abbi Simerson said.
She added now that the shop is opened, the main goal is to make memories for children to keep as they grow up and that’s a promise she and her husband intend to keep.
“Even if just one kid couldn’t come in here it would totally defeat the whole purpose of what I’m trying to do,” Abbi Simerson said. “I just want everyone to be able to come in here and have a good time.”

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