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Like a kid in a candy shop: New store sweetening up downtown Timmins

Sweet Freez to offer freeze-dried, retro and kids' candy

Life in Timmins is about to get a lot sweeter.

Sweet Freez is a new candy story getting set to open in downtown Timmins. It will boast a tasty variety that will make both young and old feel like, well, a kid in a candy story.

The store is the brainchild of Paul and Holly Doyon.

“Originally, we wanted to go with rolled ice cream,” he said.

“It’s still something we want to do,” she noted.

They have a wealth of experience working business in Timmins. The couple owned the old Taco Villa in the Timmins Square. He has 10 years of experience in automotive service, four as a mechanic. She worked as a cashier at Levi’s Loeb (now Foodland). She has owned and operated Bella’s Boutique, at 75 Pine St. S. for about nine years.

It’s there that Paul started selling candy in a corner of the shop.

A friend told them about freeze-dried candy being sold in the United States. It caught his interest.

“We got the information and in 2022 we bought our first machine,” he said.

“The intention was to attract people to Bella’s Boutique,” she said.

It took a couple of months to perfect their product. Sales of Sweet Freez freeze-dried candy debuted at the Christmas Craft Show in November of that year at the McIntyre arena.

Paul explained the process, which is not the same as dehydration.

“The freeze-dried process involves an expensive machine,” he said. “Freeze-dried candies take six hours of time to 36 hours for gummies.

“The machine itself, what it does is heat up the gummies so they start sweating or getting softer. The vacuum kicks in to remove the moisture and the sugars expand. So instead of having that gummy texture or chewie, they have a crunchie texture at the end.”

“The texture, it just melts in your mouth,” Holly added.

In addition to a variety of candy, they freeze-dry some fruit.

“With the fruits, the machine freezes them to -20, then it goes into a heat mode of over 145 F,” he said. “The vacuum comes in for the moisture … then the fruit dries up. You get a crunchie texture. It removes the water out of it, the moisture, but the nutrient, the flavour, is still there.”

“The sugar is more condensed,” she said. “It is the same amount of sugar as it is prior. We don’t add anything to it. You taste the sugar more because it is stronger.”

The process intensifies the flavour.

“It’s like watermelon,” Paul said. “When you bite into it (as a fruit) you usually taste a water flavour. With this, the water is gone and the flavour is very intense. And it’s awesome.”

Their freeze-dried products have been a hit. Other stores are now ordering candy produced by Sweet Freez in Timmins.

“In March or April, we were approached by a wholesaler in Kap and also by Wicked Stuff (in Timmins Square),” he said. “We bought a second machine and a third one, which we call Big Bertha, and we now have eight stores we wholesale for.”

Their products are also sold at stores in Hearst, Kirkland Lake, New Liskeard and Cochrane.

“We have one all the way in Newfoundland,” she said.

When they open the new store — the location of which will be announced on the Sweet Freez Facebook Page shortly — they will have more than their freeze-dried products.

“We also decided that our new concept isn’t just having freeze-dried, it’s going to have all of the classic candy,” Holly said. “It’s going to be a candy shop.”

“There’s a lot more coming,” Paul said. “When you walk into the shop, you’re going to have your retro candies, your freeze-dried candies and new candies that kids (today) love — the Airheads, the sour worms and that part of it. There are other things we have coming in I’m not saying anything until it happens.”

Adults will revisit their childhood with treats like Kookoo style taffy, Popeye candy sticks, Smarties from the U.S. (similar to Halloween rockets), flavours of Big League Chew, black licorice pipes and much more.

“We will bring some classics,” Holly said. “We will also bring different flavours, like chips or candy from China. We’re going to bring some flavours from cultures around the world. It will be a real variety. Things that Timmins doesn’t have.”

Soft drinks will have a special place at Sweet Freez.

“One of the things that sells well is those Chubbies (kids drink),” he said. “They sell right away.”

“That was our special treat at camp when we were kids, instead of pop,” she said.

“There is also different pop and flavours we will bring in,” he said.

As the business grows, so will the variety of treats available.

“We will take requests from people,” he said. “We deal with nine distributors from across country, so our options are pretty much unlimited. We will start small and grow as needed.”

The store will prepackage some baskets, perfect for gifts. They hope to have their online store up and running by the end of the month, with the candy store opening in March. It will feature production in the back and retail upfront.

Even with the new candy store open, Sweet Freez will still take part in local shows and markets.

“The idea is to advertise the company,” he said. “It takes years to make a name and get a business up to where you want it to be.

“We’ve signed up for the craft shows, the spring sportsman show, the Christmas craft show, the home show. I’ll still do the BIA one (downtown) in the summer time. And also, the Mountjoy Farmers’ Market.”

They are hoping Timmins will get a craving for the treats available at Sweet Freez.

“We all know candy makes you happy,” Paul said.

“This is something I think Timmins will really enjoy,” Holly added.

Follow the Sweet Freezon Facebook here. Contact via email at [email protected].