Ciera finds her sweet spot at Treats
Ciera Garrafa has wanted to run her own business since middle school.
She finally got her chance last October, when the store she worked for, Treats of Bermuda in the Washington Mall in Hamilton, went up for sale.
“I thought okay, this is the universe giving you that kick,” she said. “I thought let’s put on your big girl pants now, and let’s do this. Let’s see where it goes. I turned 30 in January, and I considered the business to be a birthday gift to myself.”
It took her a little while to adjust to the fact that she was no longer an employee, but the owner.
“For a couple of months I would still tell people I worked there, instead of saying I was the owner,” she said. “It was very emotional.”
But in the months since purchasing the store, she has been gradually adding her own flavour.
Treats of Bermuda is now Treats Limited. Previously, the store sold toys as well as candy. Now, the store concentrates on candy, and party related items such as balloons or cotton candy.
“We are mainly known as the candy store in the Washington Mall, so that is what we want to work on,” she said. “I want to enhance the whole candy world feeling. I want to have more of a variety and have different options. Slowly but surely, with every shipment, we are bringing something new in for everybody.”
There are now 200 different types of candy in the store bins alone, as well as other packaged options. And there are sugar free, dairy-free and vegan candies and even Keto friendly sweeties.
“We do understand that everyone has different dietary needs,” she said.
Sometimes customers come in on their way to fitness class.
“Instead of taking a supplement, they will pick a favourite sour candy to give them a boost,” she said. “This is a 100 per cent no judgement zone.”
She said the sugar tax introduced in Bermuda in 2018, forced the company to raise its prices, but it did not change people’s behaviour very much.
“If people are going to have gummy bears, they are going to have gummy bears,” she said. “Although where once they ordered $10 worth, now, they might order less. All things in moderation.”
Starting a business in the middle of a global health crisis has not been easy. Because of the pandemic, sales have not been as brisk as she would have liked.
“I worry about the impact of Covid-19 on my business, every day,” she said. “But regardless of whether it is Covid-19 or not Covid-19, there are the normal stresses of owning a business to consider. We have to just become more motivated, and have more ideas, and find more products to draw people in.”
She confessed that she does not actually eat a lot of candy, She is more of a chocolate person. Her favourite product in the store is chocolate covered Oreos.
But she can say she has tried everything she sells.
“We want to help you pick candy,” she said. “That is how we can help educate people to try new things.”
Slowly but surely she is adding more chocolate, but she is still trying to gauge what the customers want.
“We find more of a demand for chocolate covered nuts,” she said.
Treats Limited’s most popular candies are the sour ones. One of their most unusual are the gummy peppers.
“It actually has heat to it,” she said. “It tastes like a gummy bear, but once you bite it, it is hot. Some people think it is not too bad. For me, I put half a bag in my mouth. Then I was like, oh they are too spicy.”
The store had to stop self-service when the pandemic began in March 2020, but will go back to that when things get back to normal in the world.
Treats Limited’s candies, balloons and other party items are available for delivery on the Sargasso Sea App.
For more information see them on Facebook @treatslimited or on Instagram @treats.limited, call 296-1123 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.