Category Archives: retail space

Self-Service Bulk Candy Retail Offers Exciting Business Opportunities

After Petersen opened Sweetique’s 530 sq. ft. self-service bulk candy store at Rockaway Townsquare Mall in Rockaway, NJ, the reception by customers and by the mall’s owners, Corporate Property Investors, was enthusiastic. It became clear very quickly that not only a new business opportunity had been developed but, more importantly, that a whole new niche market had been created out of the blue.

Sweetique’s type of in-your-face had not existed before and the customers were literally overwhelmed by a great variety and choice of products, popular and nostalgic, that triggered their impulse to spend discretionary, and often beyond discretionary, monies.

The colorful candy, novelty and gift displays that were presented under bright lights and surrounded by foot-stumping Oldies music created a must-buy atmosphere and enticement that the customers seemed to have some difficult to avoid once near the store or to control once he/she had stepped inside. The candy retail business had literally been revolutionized.



“Less Is More”

  • Compared to most other retail products candy is a low-ticket item, often selling for just a few quarters. In-line store spaces in well-trafficked regional shopping centers were leasing at the time for $ 80.00 to $ 120.00 per square foot, including mall maintenance and marketing fees which were obligatory for all tenants. This meant that the lease agreement alone could cost some $ 500K to $ 800K over the typical lease term of 8 years. Of course, personally guaranteed by the lessee to the lessor. And they don’t come cheaper today.
  • Such high-value obligations could only be amortized with high sales volumes that had an unusually low cost of goods, by controlled leasing and operating costs and by realistic leasehold improvements. Lease and operating expenses were already established by free market forces and could not be manipulated downwards too much, if at all. However, sales volume, cost of goods and leasehold improvements [store construction], and especially the latter, could be favorably affected by efficient and creative store design, merchandising and management.
  • Petersen drew focused inspiration from a famous phrase which had been professionally practiced and popularized  by the German-American architect and visionary of minimalist design, Ludwig Mies von der Rohe: “Less Is More”. Mies, as he was called, was one of the pioneering masters of modern architecture and design who enjoyed worldwide renown.
  • “Less Is More”, in terms of its retail challenge, meant to generate as much repeat and sustainably increasing people traffic, revenue and profit within a consumer-friendly and inviting brick-and-mortar environment which, on one hand, could accommodate the desired consumer traffic but which, at the same time, limited costs of leasehold improvements and rent obligations.
  • The idea was simple while challenging: Customer self-service of a large variety of candy, novelty and gift products merchandised in a modular, stackable and highly space-efficient dispensing system which allowed for the largest count of stock-keeping units, SKU, was the conceptual answer. But could Petersen realize this conceptually and financially? More soon …

Be Unique. Read Sweetique!

A Dandy Candy Business Opportunity Too Sweet To Pass!

While researching candy business opportunities in Germany in the early 1980s, Klaus Petersen created and developed the retail concept of self-service bulk candy.

At that time, Petersen was the president and chief executive of a leading international corporation. He was also in search of professional independence, and a more rewarding personal and financial career.

Eventually, the idea of bulk candy retail, and Petersen’s enhanced vision of it, rapidly and literally revolutionized the candy retail scene.  Petersen’s newly minted motto, “World’s Sweetest Fun”, gave rise to new business opportunities in the candy industry.

Candy Retail In Its Simplest And Most Ingenious Form!

One day, in the upscale “Hanse-Viertel-Galerie,” a Boutique Retail Passage in the center of historically candy-conscious Hamburg, Petersen observed an innovative idea that was as stunning in its simplicity as it was powerful with its enormous business and profit potential.

Born from a tiny drawer no larger than 6 square feet, and evolving from Petersen’s creative enhancements of the basic idea, this candylicious concept would eventually conquer the world, from the Americas to Europe to Asia to Australia and beyond.

The Sweet Candy Vision!

Around noon time on that fateful day, Petersen observed a young student pulling a large size drawer of approximately 36 inches wide and less than that in depth from an outside base below a boutique window.

Beside it stood a fixture with empty bags, a small scale and a cash register. Sporadically, the young, enterprising retailer rested his weary limbs on a tiny stool during his constant sales and service activities.

Inside the drawer were eighteen old-fashioned, well polished glass candy jars, neatly organized side by side. They contained a variety of the most popular candies: chewy gummy bears; colorful jelly beans; sweet taffies; Sour Patch Kids; tangy licorice; chocolaty M&Ms; bouncy gumballs; psychedelic jaw breakers; and still other mouth-watering, candy novelties and nostalgic sweets.

Take Common Candy And Make It Uncommon!

Petersen realized immediately that this was a powerful niche concept and an unusually profitable business opportunity.

The only thing the small-in-size, but huge-in-idea, bottom-drawer business opportunity was missing was a conceptual “Americanization” of it: greater product variety; “foot-stomping and theatrical presentation” of hundreds of bulk and novelty candies combined with “candy music”, “candy lighting”, “lingering candy scents”; and, last but by no means least, “candy self-service”.

HOW did Petersen eventually draw millions of happy customers to his “Candy Theatre” experience? More of this sweet and candylicious story and other news and opportunities are coming soon. Follow our posts via email or use the RSS button to keep up with the latest posts.

Be Unique. Read Sweetique!