Business Spotlight: Sugar Makery's Success Has Been A Sweet Story
The past six years have been a sweet experience for Malcom and Alexis McCue.
The founders and owners of the Sugar Makery say the success of their business is a direct result from the patronage and support they’ve received from the Glenwood community since the first day their popular popcorn, candy and ice cream store opened in August 2017.
“When we opened, we didn’t know what to expect,” Alexis said. “My husband kind of joked that I was going to be in the kitchen wearing an apron and the door would bing 10 or 12 times a day. This completely blows any type of expectations we had away. It’s incredible.”
Sugar Makery, located at 204 Sharp St., has definitely evolved and grown over the past six years.
For starters, the store has more candy than ever to choose from, thanks in part to two custom-made display tables they had built. Hand-packed ice cream is now available, and, oh yes, fudge.
“When we first opened, we were not making fudge,” Alexis noted. “Over the first couple months, people would walk in and say, ‘You don’t have fudge?’ We’d tell them ‘no’ and they told us this a place that should have fudge.”
The store features hundreds of different kinds of sweets, ranging from taffy and chocolates to the retro candies many adults remember enjoying as children to a new line of freeze-dried (astronaut style) candy. There’s also over a hundred flavors of retro soda pops, ice cream, a dessert counter, over 50 flavors of popcorn and custom-made cakes.
“Every time I order candy, I always add new varieties,” Alexis said. “We’re always playing around with ice cream flavors and we’re always playing around with popcorn flavors.”
Malcom and Alexis make the ice cream themselves. When it comes to flavors, Alexis said there’s a clear customer favorite.
“The No. 1 seller that I can’t keep in stock is Carmel Sea Salt Brownie. Every time we make that, we have to make a double or triple batch,” she said. “The surprising flavor that people are obsessed with is Lavender Chip. We used to only have it in the summer, but this last winter we could not stop making it all winter long. People would call either store (Glenwood or Council Bluffs) and make sure that we have Lavender Chip ice cream before they came in.”
Sugar Makery has made a name for itself, not only in Glenwood, but across the region. Three years ago, Malcom and Alexis opened a second store in Council Bluffs at 19278 Conifer Lane. A third store is planned for Shenandoah. Between its Glenwood and Council Bluffs stores, Sugar Makery employs about 45 workers, including 10-12 full-time.
Sugar Makery products are also available for purchase online.
“We ship daily all over,” Alexis said. “We’ve shipped popcorn balls to Ireland. We like to say we ship happiness.”
Sugar Makery has also attracted customers to Glenwood as a member of the national Harvest Hosts program. Campers, who belong to Harvest Hosts are allowed to park their camper or motor home overnight at a designated spot (with electricity) on the participating business’s parking lot free of charge. In return, the program encourages guests to patronize their host and the community.
“We actually send them up to the square for groceries and to eat dinner,” Alexis said. “Our very first Harvest Hosts that was here, she’s been here two more times. The last time, she sent me a really great note and said, ‘I’ve always loved Glenwood. While I was there, I got a hair trim, groceries and dinner.’ That’s exactly what we wanted.”
Sugar Makery has added many new offerings at their store over the past six years, but Malcom and Alexis concede their signature product from Day 1 has always been the popcorn.
Sugar Makery’s week starts with Munchie Monday when a new limited-time flavor of popcorn is introduced.
“That flavor is available all week until the next Monday,” Alexis said.
Sugar Makery even has a few wholesaler customers who buy the popcorn, including a popular Omaha candy store.
“At the end of every day, we’re a popcorn shop,” Alexis said with a smile.