PHOTO/DENNIS MYERS

Sweets Homemade Candies was hurt when adjoining Borders Books closed, and further undercut with the recession. But its owner Rebecca Cavender has kept the store going making its own candies and now hopes to thrive. Her store is at 4991 S. Virginia St.

What made you choose this line of work?

Well, I’d been in the restaurant business for years but didn’t like the hours, and sometimes customers are not always so nice in the restaurant business. But in the candy business, all of our customers are so nice. They’re either buying a gift for someone or treating themselves, and it’s just a pleasure to be here all day.

Why candy making?

Well, I actually got a job—my husband got transferred to Reno—and I got a job in another candy store and I always felt that I could do it better. One of the people I was working with, who has now worked for me for 24 years, and I thought that we could do it better and use better ingredients. And when we had the chance we opened up our store in Truckee.

Is it still there?

Oh, yes—just hit 19 years.

You’re a chain?

Yes, we’re a chain, chain of two [laughs]. And this one hits 15 years this year.

The economy is down. You’re next to an anchor store that moved out. How you doing?

Well, for a while, things were pretty slow. But we have some amazing regular customers who keep coming back to us. They come for every holiday, every anniversary, every birthday, and they’ve kept us afloat. And now we have Nordstrom Rack going in next door, so things should pick up a little bit.

What kind of custom orders do you get?

We can do anything that we already have in one kind of chocolate, say we only make it in milk chocolate right now, we can make in dark, white. If there’s no sugar in the center, like a nut, we can make it in sugar free, milk or dark. There’s some things that we enjoy the challenge of. We can do certain kinds of molded items for any kind of holiday. If somebody gives us, “I would kind of like to have such-and-such that my mother used to make years ago,” we will try and make it if we can. That’s the fun part of it. And designing new candies is the fun part of it.

You’re very thin. How do you manage that in a candy store?

Stress. I don’t recommend it as a weight loss tool, but—. We work very hard. You know, we take 60 pound sacks of corn syrup. But it’s physical. … You know, we’re lifting those trays and pulling them out. But we do eat a lot of candy. And I eat a lot of candy. … None of us resists. That in itself is stressful.

Are you planning a third store?

Not right now. I think any expansion plans would be to get my candy into other stores. … Maybe expand into wholesaling, more wholesaling. We do some. And more corporate work, which we do quite a bit of. Our candy is in the Atlantis. Our candy is in the Silver Legacy. So maybe expand that by a bit.

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Dennis Myers

Dennis Myers was the news editor of the Reno News & Review. He was a journalist for more than four decades. In 1987-88 he was chief deputy secretary of state of Nevada. He was coauthor of Uniquely...