The business started in February at the Angel House of North Georgia. Through Kids in a Candy Store, young women living in the independent living program at Angel House make candy bouquets for weddings, businesses and gifts.
Women receiving independent living services are required to work nine to 25 hours a week.
Angel House Executive Director Susan Worsley said many of the independent living residents find work in fast food and similar industries.
Starting a business at Angel House seemed like a good way to give the women broader work experiences without having to worry about transportation, she said.
Angel House’s independent living program is designed for young women ages 18 to 21. Angel House accepts up to four independent living residents at a time, and these women have the opportunity to work for Kids in a Candy Store.
“They’re aging out of foster care, or community kids who need life skills to get a good start,” Worsley said. The independent living program teaches skills including budgeting and household management while residents work to save money to start life on their own.
Having the in-house business lets Angel House staff work more closely with the residents and their personal budgets.
“We try to teach them to save for things. We want them to learn how to manage their money,” Worsley said.
Some Angel House residents still choose to work off-site, and some of them will pick up candy-arranging shifts for extra money.
Worsley said business has been “constant” since Kids in a Candy Store began.
“They’ve done some weddings. We have a lot of businesses around town that are using (the arrangements) to give to their customers,” Worsley said. The arrangements are sold at Northside Hospital Cherokee and at Reinhardt University.
The women also sell the candy through the business’s website, www.kidsinacandystore.org. The women are in charge of taking photos of the arrangements and posting them on the site, giving them marketing experience.
“A lot of our arrangements are sold through word of mouth,” Worsley said.
Worsley said Angel House is the only independent living program in the state that has started a business.
“We wanted them to be learning the marketing and the sales. They see this from the beginning all the way through the sale,” she said.
The young women also use their creative talents to make the arrangements.
“We get to pick out the candy and choose how we want it to look,” said 17-year-old Maggie Adams.
Prices for the candy bouquets range from $10 to $150, and Kids in a Candy Store can accommodate a wide variety of themes, including holidays, births, collegiate themes, sports and wedding themes.
The young women started making Christmas bouquets last week and will accept Christmas orders through Christmas Eve.