Jason and Kristi Hastings were looking to fill a downtown storefront when the idea for a pop-up retail boutique came to mind. They considered it an opportunity to teach their teenage children about entrepreneurship and take advantage of the renewed interest downtown storefronts.
Located at 123 E. Lincoln Ave., Sugarbomb is a kid-owned and operated retail shop that sells over 100-plus types of candy and regionally-made bath bombs. Aside from the nostalgic candy, edible bugs, giant lollipops and bath bombs that come from an entrepreneurial skills class at Bertha-Hewitt Public School, Sugarbomb brings business acumen to the young entrepreneurs.
Fourteen-year-old Ava Hastings is primarily responsible for the front end of the business. She says, “I’m excited for the upcoming summer. We invested our profit from last summer in a fridge so that we can sell cold pop, something that a lot of people asked for. My goal for next summer is to be more involved in employee hiring and scheduling and to keep our social media interesting.”
The concept of a pop-up store is to offer products temporarily - sometimes this comes in the form of trendy fads and other times it is seasonal. Sugarbomb has leveraged this model to reach the ever-growing summer demographic that inevitably takes over Lakes Country. Sugarbomb exceeded their projected sales in Year 1 and are already looking forward to summer 2020 in Otter Tail County. Stay tuned to their progress by following them on Facebook or Instagram @sugarbombff.
Thirteen-year-old Dane Hastings worked the back end of the business, really getting involved in inventory and projections. “Last summer was a blast. I loved working when the store was busy and customers had questions. I focused on the inventory last year and next year I want to learn more about the financial side of the business other than inventory.”
For the coming season, customers can expect a remodel of their space, including new flooring, lighting and window coverings. Because of their success in Year 1, they will be adding a glass front commercial refrigerator to enhance their soda pop offerings. Although their store is tiny, it is mighty and the young entrepreneurs hope to add as much inventory as possible. In Year 1, they were able to pinpoint what product called to their customers. In Year 2, they hope to expand on that and reach a broader clientele.
“I had the pleasure of working with the Hastings family during the first year of Sugarbomb’s operation,” CEO Annie Deckert said. “Whether visiting the pop-up store in my current role, or as a consumer, I was extremely impressed with the professionalism of the staff, and inviting atmosphere of their location. With our current workforce shortage, it’s even more important than ever to expose students to a variety of career paths, and the Hastings family is leading by example through teaching their children about entrepreneurship through the operation of Sugarbomb. I’m looking forward to their expanded offerings next season!”