By Sophie Pappas
With muffled tears and a downcast tone, Jill Zaniker, owner of Simply Sweet Shoppe in Carmel, uttered words over the phone that she never thought she would have to speak: “I am closing.”
A business decision that Zaniker said really comes down to profitability; Zaniker’s last day of operating out of her storefront at 30 N. Range Line Rd. will be March 1, at which point Tina’s Traditional Old English Kitchen and Tea Room will occupy the entire Simply Sweet Shoppe space.
“It is just hard for me,” Zaniker said. “But it is the right business decision, and I’m very proud that I’m not leaving a vacant location. Tina has been doing great business.”
Zaniker said that over the years that she’s been in business, more stores have begun to carry her specialty retro candies.
“They are everywhere now,” she said.
Zaniker said she will likely keep her office upstairs and could “potentially” maintain corporate accounts that she will mail candies to.
“That’s really where you make the money is with corporate accounts,” she said. “But I’ve never done this before so I need to figure that out.”
Zaniker wrote the following letter to the community in light of her closing.
To my customers and friends,
It is with mixed emotions that I am writing this letter. I have always dreamt of starting and owning a business…and thus The Simply Sweet Shoppe was born! It was my fondest wish that The Simply Sweet Shoppe would become part of cherished childhood memories for my young customers; very much like the wonderful memories of candy stores my older customers have shared with me over the past 6 and a half years!
One of my top priorities as a business owner and community member has been to source our candy from local, regional and small family run businesses whenever possible. In addition, giving back is a way of life for my family, and I continued that philosophy through The Simply Sweet Shoppe by supporting the local schools, CCEF, The Carmel and Westfield public library (over 13,000 slushies donated and over 2000 yummy chocolates), Carmel community gardens, The National MS Society, Will’s Way, JDRF, Relay for Life, Strides against Breast Cancer, and ATI have been a few of our favorites.
With any business one is continually assessing and evolving to keep up with trends and the latest and greatest. Since I have opened my doors, in 2008, there have been three key events that have transpired. Every consumable item that I carry has gone up in price by at least 35 percent. Three of my exclusive to Indiana lines that I carried have made it big time and sold to big box stores. I cannot compete with their pricing and buying power, but I am so happy for these family companies! These days you can buy candy almost anywhere; the grocery store, discount and hardware stores, party supply stores and clothing retailers. Even antique malls are starting to sell my once elusive retro candies.
In response and in an effort to stay profitable without raising my prices, I downsized earlier this year and
decided to share my space. After several interviews and inquiries Tina’s Traditional Old English Kitchen
arrived. I am so excited for her success, if you haven’t experienced it, put it on your must do list! Did you know that 30 N. Rangeline Rd. is also home to The Art Studio of Carmel (offering adult and kid classes), Fine Giving & Glass Wrappings, Debbie Slack and Barb Gregory Fine Art Studios, and Penny Roberson’s Quail Wood Studio.
So much talent in one building, I hope you get to know them, too.
With much sadness and a heavy heart I have made the business decision to close my doors. Tina will be expanding into my space effective March 1. I am thrilled not to be leaving yet another vacant building in the district that I love. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention my amazing staff, I will miss them dearly. As this chapter
closes, I hope you-the customers I loved to serve with personal attention-understand that small local
businesses are quickly becoming extinct in our culture. Please continue to make the effort to shop local
even if it costs a few pennies more. It is important to support these wonderful treasures in our own backyards…they provide much needed services, jobs and character that makes our community unique.
Hope to see you before we close.
Owner Simply Sweet Shoppe