Cassandra Scheepers is the driving force behind Scheeps Caramels Co. When she became a stay-at-home mom, she started making caramels for friends and family, and things just exploded from there.  Courtesy Photo

WINCHESTER – Candy is an interesting food product. Depending upon circumstances it can brighten a day like nothing else can. It can give you energy, it can act as a reward, and given as a gift to recognize a special occasion, and it can be enjoyed again and again, allowing you to relive the mood-altering ability every time you partake.

There are, of course, different qualities of candy. The chocolate bar you pick up at the convenience store offers an energy boost and a pleasant experience, but it cannot compare to the care and attention that goes into the making of small batches of hand made candy. Take caramels, for example, like those made locally by Scheeps Caramels Co.

Scheeps (pronounced Skeeps) Caramels Co. is the creation of Cassandra Scheepers. “It (the name) came from my husband. I wanted it to be more of like a family business, and that’s what a lot of his buddies at work call him.”

Scheepers started the business in January of 2023. “I started by just making the caramels for my family at Christmas time, and I have two young daughters, aged two and three, so I’ve been a stay-at-home mom for the past three years. I just started doing it at night. My family were the ones who tried to convince me that I should [take them] to a market.

“I am a nail tech and lash tech by trade,” adds Scheepers, “But during Covid I couldn’t really do that. And then I got pregnant and had kids during COVID, so I couldn’t really go back. I will eventually get there again but I just started doing this to just help financially around the house a little bit and have something to do at night just to pass the time and unwind a little bit.”

Starting a small business is a struggle, and if you want to succeed, you must put in the work. Of all the things she had to do, Scheepers said the hardest thing for her was sourcing things like packaging. “There’s a lot of hours that people don’t realize that go into the sourcing, even in a small business like this. So, our prices kind of have to reflect that, right?

“The hours that we put into the researching of the products that we’re using, and what’s in them and stuff like that. I try to stay within Canada with most of my products. A lot of my packaging for the caramels is just made in Canada in Toronto.

Then there’s that other role, that of being a mom. “Yeah, finding the balance of being a mom and running a small business can be a struggle,” said Scheepers. “It’s definitely not an easy thing, that’s for sure, but I do enjoy it.”

Any kind of food prep can also be a contentious issue at times, but Scheepers says that is under control. She is in the process of having her kitchen deemed a commercial kitchen, which will open a lot more options for distribution.

Of all the different caramels she makes, what is Scheepers favourite?

“I have to say it’s my salted caramels with pretzel pieces in them. Yeah, that would be probably my favourite. It’s just like the original salted caramel that I make, but I just put pretzel pieces within them. And it just gives a little bit more of a crunch to it.”

With Christmas coming up, does Scheepers have any new ideas, any special products that she’s thinking about?

“Yes, I actually will be debuting my caramel sauce,” says Scheepers. “I had a lot of people that have requested a sauce or more of a spreadable caramel, so I will be debuting that and there also will be another caramel flavour coming out. It’s going to be a candy pecan salted caramel.”

To learn more or to place an order, you can reach Scheep’s Caramels Co. through Facebook and email. I’m working on getting a website done, but it’s just become a little hectic. Right now, in my personal life, we’re also building our first home.

Scheeps Caramels Co. does custom orders as well. “I’ve done wedding favours, bridal party favours, baby showers,” said Scheepers. “And I have different shaped moulds too, so like for Valentine’s Day, I have done heart molds and I recently just did a baby shower. That was like a fishing theme, so I did like mini fish.”

Tasty treats and a creative mind; it’s a good combination.

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