By Steven Brasley and Kristy Zhen
Since Life’s So Sweet Chocolates opened on September 29, its employees have been stocking the shelves with over 60 varieties of handmade chocolates, childhood favorites like Pixy Stix, Fun Dip and Candy Dots and hundreds of colorful and flavorful Jelly Belly jelly beans. As if that wasn’t enough to draw you in, this candy store in Ithaca also offers eight house-made sodas from their original soda fountain, gluten-free and vegan options, and sustainable candy packaging. Best of all – it’s right downtown.
The store located on 116 W. Green Street, strategically opened during Apple Harvest Festival.
“We wanted to let Ithaca know that we are here and we have lots of treats and that we want to know what they like as well,” said Darlynne Overbaugh, owner and head confectionist of Life’s So Sweet Chocolates.
Everything that is sold in the store is either handmade, house-made or from a family-owned business. The candy store offers three types of truffles that are hand-rolled and hand-dipped, as well as eight house-made syrups for their original, fully-restored soda fountain from 1949. There are also seasonal items. Currently, they sell pumpkin pie and apple pie truffles, as well as “spider webs” and “monkey brains” for the month of October. In addition, all packaging is biodegradable, recyclable or reusable.
So far, the store has received a steady flow of customers, said Manager Kara Tilton.
The clientele includes people working at the surrounding businesses, high-schoolers who come in after school, parents and grandparents who come with children, and people who just happen to walk or drive by.
“I think it’s wonderful,” said Gary Price, a man who discovered the store one day when he was walking to the library. “It’s in the perfect location.”
This is the second location of Life’s So Sweet Chocolates, which has an original store in Trumansburg. Overbaugh was able to open this store after winning the Race for Space contest, a business development project that awarded existing or aspiring retailers or entrepreneurs the chance to open shop in downtown Ithaca. In addition to the retail space, the rewards also included free rent for a year.
Tim Dean, a new customer, believes that the free rent will really help the candy store to succeed.
“I think a lot of businesses have a hard time starting and maintaining. But if they can get established, they have a real shot,” he said.
In the future, Overbaugh has plans to add Wi-Fi, have the space available for birthday parties, convert the three tables to represent the progressions of the game Candy Land, and host non-alcoholic chocolate happy hours on Fridays.
“We like to say that we are turning Green Street into Sweet Street,” she said.