To say that Mike and Deann Schmitt love artisanal candy would be an understatement. To them, artisanal candy is more than a sweet treat, it’s an experience. Everyone entering Sweet Schmitt’s Candy store is greeted personally by Mike or DeAnn. They are always happy to explain how their candies are made or fill you in on their new flavors. Inside their tempting candy display, you will find a constantly changing variety of homemade candies: hand-dipped marshmallows, crunchy nut clusters and melt-in-your-mouth caramels in an assortment of flavors.
When Mike and DeAnn stared Sweet Schmitt’s Candy, they only sold candy on the company’s website and Etsy. But as local demand grew, the couple needed a larger space to expand their business. In 2016, the Schmitt’s contacted the Southwest Indiana Small Business Development Center (SBDC) for assistance. Southwest Indiana SBDC Business Advisor Doug Claybourn helped Mike and DeAnn create a detailed business plan that included everything from flavors of candy to financial projections to detailed market research. These resources helped the Schmitt’s put their thoughts on paper and proceed with confidence. After working with Doug, DeAnn considers him a part of the family. Mike Schmitt said, “The Southwest Indiana SBDC has given us tremendous contacts and opened so many doors for us.”
The Southwest Indiana SBDC was able to connect the Schmitt’s with the University of Evansville’s Principles of Marketing class. Through their semester-long class, university students made various marketing recommendations to increase the store’s brand awareness and allow more customers to find their sweet treats. Many of these recommendations were adopted into Sweet Schmitt Candy’s current marketing strategy. These recommendations, combined with the assistance from Doug, helped the Schmitt’s open their first storefront location in 2019. As for the future of Sweet Schmitt’s, DeAnn hopes to continue growing the business in order to pass it down to her children one day. She also hopes to carry on the tradition of providing an “old-school” candy store feel right in the heart of Evansville. You can visit Sweet Schmitt’s Candy Store at 422 North Main St. in Evansville to discover “Where Sweet Things Happen.”