By Donna Perry Sun Journal, Lewiston, Maine
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Linda Chretien's candy business is beyond what she ever expected. Chretien now sells cotton candy and other treats at more than a dozen stores in Maine. She also caters parties, company outings, and special events.
When Linda Chretien dons her hairnet and gloves, and starts the cotton-candy machine spinning, the sweetness starts to fly.
She is a baker, a cotton candy maker and a popcorn flavorer.
"I am used to buying sugar, but I never thought I would be buying it in 50-pound bags," Chretien said.
Chretien has always loved to cook, and started her pastry business, Chretien's Kitchen, from her home on Page Road in 2013.
She had been working part time at a food service job as well, until budget cuts were made in 2015 and she was let go.
She decided to branch out to making cotton candy and flavored popcorn under the name Yummo Snacks. She bought the business from a Turner woman who was looking for someone motivated to keep it going, Chretien said.
She considers herself blessed that her business is doing well. She added a pastry stand on the lawn of her residence where she sells cotton candy and pastries when the weather is cool.
"When people buy my products, they enjoy them and they know they are made in Maine," she said.
What are the most popular flavors for cotton candy? Bubble gum, blue raspberry, watermelon and grape. Other flavors include green apple, orange, pink vanilla and banana. You name it and I probably have it.
How much sugar goes into making cotton candy? Not as much as people think. I think a teaspoon of sugar makes 2 ounces of cotton candy. It will make a bag. It is not very much sugar.
When people ask for blue cotton candy or pink what are the flavors? A lot of people don't really know that when they get blue it is blue raspberry. When you get pink, it is bubble gum.
What flavors does the candy-coated popcorn come in? Raspberry, cherry, grape, sweet corn and caramel.
What is required for a label? I have to label every single one of my containers with my name and ingredients down the side of it.
When you say you are blessed what do you mean? I just have faith in the Lord that he is going to provide.
Is your business living up to what you anticipated? It's beyond what I expected. I sell cotton candy at 16 Renys' stores, Food City in Livermore Falls and Wilbur's in Maine in Freeport. I also sell my pastries at Food City and Riverside Kwik Stop in Jay.
I do parties, company outings, special occasions and other events. My son, Ryan, and my husband, Jim, help with deliveries. I also set up my cotton candy, popcorn and sno-cone machine twice a year at the Walmart Distribution Center in Lewiston.
What are your words of wisdom to people wanting to become entrepreneurs? Believe in your dreams and they will come true.