Project description

Name: Felicia Evans Long
Company: Sweet Candy Cafe
Location: Lumberton, North Carolina

Meet Felicia: The Woman With The Sweet Tooth
Felicia always had a passion for sweet treats and business. In high school she would earn extra money by selling her homemade candy creations in the hallways during lunch. It was no surprise to her family and friends that she had a bright future ahead of her. Soon after obtaining her MBA, Felicia spent many years gaining life and business experience by working in the private sector and in various positions for the Federal Government.

Sister Companies 
After several years of work she left the corporate world to pursue her passion. It was only a matter of time before Felicia and her late husband, Timothy Long, partnered together to start their first successful company called Sweet Events. “I have always had a love for confectionery. As a kid we made homemade candy and in school I sold candy in the hallways of my high school. Sweet Candy Cafe is the sister company of our event planning business, Sweet Events and Planning, LLC,” Felicia continues, “As a southern woman born in North Carolina, home of sweet tea and sweet potato pie, it just seemed natural to use the word ‘sweet’ as part of both my business names.”

Biggest Win From A Tragic Lose
Together they started Sweet Candy Café shortly after Sweet Events. Felicia and Timothy ran both companies together until August 2014 when Timothy suddenly passed away while on vacation. It was a great loss for Felicia and the community but Felicia continued to grow the confectionery store and has even established a college scholarship fund in memory of her beloved husband. “Sharing this journey and memory with my sweet husband and co-founder, Timothy Long, has been my biggest win to date. I cherish every moment we shared together.”

“I have always had a love for confectionery. As a kid we made homemade candy and in school I sold candy in the hallways of my high school … [But] sharing this journey and memory with my sweet husband and co-founder, Timothy Long, has been my biggest win to date. I cherish every moment we shared together.”

Bittersweet Roadblocks
Before the success of Sweet Candy Café, Felicia and her husband faced the rare setback of their first confectionery store location catching fire in October of 2012. This fire almost consumed all of their sweet business dreams. With the support of their community, they were able to relocate and open a new location just two months later!.

Southern Charm 
Sweet Candy Café is known not just for their rare endless selection of sweet treats, but is also popular for their supreme customer service. When asked what makes her business stand out, Felicia responded, “Our true southern hospitality. You’re greeted by red walls and a chandelier when you enter Sweet Candy Cafe in Historic Downtown, Lumberton, North Carolina,” She continues, “My husband was born in the Bronx, New York, but was raised in Newark, New Jersey.  He absolutely loved the southern charm and exceedingly sweet levels of customer service. We take pride in treating our customers extra special from our free samples of our southern homemade strawberry lemonade.  We are not just a candy store, we are an experience of sweet luxury of confectionery goodies purchased all over the world; domestic and international.”

Strive For the Best
With two very successful up and running small businesses, Felicia has had her share of crucial learning moments. She urged any future business owners to learn from her experiences, “When starting a small business, especially a storefront, make sure when it comes time for you sign the lease agreement that you secure your renter’s insurance as well.” She points out, “Even if you aren’t open to the general public ‘til six months later, the moment you commit to the lease, your renter’s insurance should be secure. We had to learn this lesson the hard way, but are thankful for the long-term lesson it has taught us.”

Felecia has adopted the mission statement from Shaw University’s – “Strive for Excellence, Why not be the Best.” She implements this in every aspect of her life and encourages any aspiring entrepreneurs reading this to do the same.“No matter the industry you choose, remember to be consistent and stay true to your vision even when others may not understand.  And, have a clear understanding of every aspect of your business.  It’s okay to delegate but you must know what’s going on within your business at all times.”

Sweet Dreams
From the fire, to the loss of her husband, Felicia has been a great strength and example to her community. She plans to continue to press forward with her business success and has set many new goals not just for Sweet Candy Café but to take advantage of other entrepreneurial opportunities. “There is a lot on my list! My immediate goal is to award the first ‘Timothy Long Memorial Scholarship’ to a deserving senior student at a Preparatory Catholic School in Newark, New Jersey. This will take place in August 2015 in memory of my husband. I would also like to open up a Bed and Breakfast (B&B) with my confectionery treats in the next five years.”