Man in the Moon Candies, Oswego, NY
Man in the Moon Candies started operations in 2005 as a hobby for owner Amy Stone Lear while she was working a full-time job. Amy’s grandparents had started a candy shop years prior and had a very popular lollipop called “man in the moon”. Hence where the name came from – a nod to that candy and where it all started years before.
Everything was initially produced in her father’s basement, an approved commercial kitchen where he had previously made chocolate. In 2007, they opened a retail shop in the Canal Commons in Oswego, NY while still producing chocolate in her father’s basement. That business quickly took off and in 2008, Amy Lear took the biggest leap yet. With the help of the SBDC, Amy secured financing and moved to a storefront on West 1st Street. They were able to use the existing space in Canal Commons to do some manufacturing to relocate production out of her father’s basement.
Business continued to boom and in 2018, Amy Lear took another leap to move across the street for a larger location to increase retail space and consolidate production. Amy sought to purchase an old building that needed restoration (almost directly across from the leased space and still on West 1st Street in the main downtown Oswego traffic area). She worked with the Oswego SBDC on securing an SBA loan and assistance on getting Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) approval for improvement of the façade. They moved into the building and started operations there in September, 2018.
The pandemic was a struggle for Man in the Moon Candies as it was for many small businesses. But they were still able to remain open and managed to adapt, even creating a place for her employees to bring their kids -- who were doing remote learning -- while her employees continued to work. The in-person retail business was understandably slower and people were able to socially distance. Furthermore, Amy was able to provide curbside pickup. Similar to the liquor industry, people viewed candy as a luxury and comfort item. Additionally, they quickly revamped their website to handle the increase in online sales, which they received from all across the country.
As if the pandemic was not enough, however, a van crashed into their new location through the front window, shortly after they had finished renovations and were beginning to work on the façade. Once again, Man in the Moon weathered the adversity.
Today, Man in the Moon Candies is thriving and is looking to purchase additional equipment to increase production and introduce new product lines.
Their success comes from starting small, growing smart and pivoting during uncertain times. And of course, really great chocolate! What started as a part-time hobby 18 years ago, is today a thriving business that is still looking to expand. The SBDC is proud to have played some small part in Amy’s entrepreneurial journey and looks to continue that support into the delicious future.
Read articles and advice written by our very own Onondaga SBDC Business Advisors!