So excited to share this story with you!
Pure Sugar Candy Comes to Holliston
By J.D. o’Gara
A few special retail cus- tomers. And the Neiman Marcus catalog.
That’s what the big picture looks like for Stacey Marks Nectow.. No Mom and Pop shop for this candy connoisseur and creator right now. Her Pure Sugar Candy company’s bright and colorful new manufacturing facility, in Holliston, is all she needs.
“I’d rather eat candy than food,” says Nectow, who says she has always made good old-fashioned hard candy, right in her kitchen, since she learned to do it in a 6th grade home economics class. In fact, her two sons thought every Mom made hard candy as theirs did, just like brownies.
“I was always a candy eater; I loved Starbursts and Lay Tay. My mother would say, ‘Stop I make only hard candy, with just a few ingredients. There’s no chocolate, no nuts, no dairy,” she says. “Pure Sugar Candy,” then, seemed not only appropriate, but perfect. “If you had candy pieces to satisfy your craving, that’s just 10 calories,” she says.
Nectow has a good reason to think big. She retired from a very successful television career of 33 years. In fact, after she started in Miami, she ended up, at 29, as the rst female general manager of a television station in Chicago. She left Chicago for NECN as station manager. As she has always made candy, Nectow knew when she was just 10 years old that she’d have a career in television.
Leaving her television career, she says, which did leave her a bit cynical, and switching to the candy company offered a positive change. “Even grumpy people love what I make,” she says.
A couple of years ago, Nectow decided to try something new with her candy.
“I had the thought of making it into a sphere. I thought, wouldn’t it be cool to have something like a ball when you walk up to your Christmas tree,” she says. Nectow tried a sugar pulling class, but that didn’t achieve what she wanted. Then, she tried blowing, or pumping air, into the sugar. Again, her results weren’t pleasing. She kept experimenting with the process, and “now, I make this hollowed-out, seamless candy, and I have a patent pending,” she says.
Once she could make her Christmas ornament, Nectow’s brother suggested making a baseball, and so the confectioner did it. “All of a sudden, people wanted to buy these baseballs for their kids’ teams,” Nectow says. She found herself making 200 tennis balls for the U.S. Opening in New York City, then several hundred giant soccer ball candies for a television/cable convention.
“You know, I love this,” says Nectow, who realized there was a real market for her shaped candy. “The thought of having something that was mine, after spending 33 years in corporate America, was appealing.” She began in her basement in Needham, a space she has now simply outgrown.
“I’ve gotten to the point I can’t sell anymore, because I can’t make it,” says Nectow, who has moved beyond spheres and now has over 600 food safe platinum silicone molds for everything from seals (which she sells to the Chatham Bars Inn), to seagulls, rubber ducks, 18 different breeds of dogs, and more.
She's made a number of custom items for different retailers, including light-up skulls and Harry Potter white owls and magic wands for a New York event company. She now makes holiday items that she sells to local stores, such as Fiske’s General Store.
“I love a challenge. I could do anything custom,” says Nectow, who sees her creations as edible art and is still doing all the candy-making herself, although now she’s hired three local students to help her with packaging. She has yet to entrust the candy making to anyone else.
“I’ve never worked so hard in my life!” she laughs.
Her goal is to expand Pure Sugar Candy’s wholesale busi- ness, but she won’t launch in a big way until she can ensure that her product will be perfect on a larger scale.
“I always want to be wholesale delivering to retail. I don’t know that I’ll ever have a storefront,” says Nectow, who envisions sell- ing her products through top retail channels, and one place in particular draws her heart.
“There were times, growing up, when we had money, and
times when we had none,” says Nectow. “For my mother (who passed away at age 62), the Nei- man Marcus Christmas cata- log was her Bible. Even if she couldn’t a ord to buy anything extravagant, she might get the gourmet food. She would under- stand (I was successful) if I made something that was sold in the Neiman Marcus Christmas cata- log.”
For information on Pure Sugar Candy, visit www.pure- sugarcandy.com or nd the com- pany on Facebook. For questions, call Stacey Nectow at info@pure- sugarcandy.com.