Not long after moving to New Hampshire a decade ago, Jen Evans started going to Chandler’s Cake & Candy Supplies.
At first she took classes, and then two years later, with a wedding on the horizon, she asked Chandler’s owner Sue Chandler to make her wedding cake – because she’s pretty good at baking cakes.
Chandler has since made Christening cakes for both of Evans’s children, as well as offered countless tips for other baking projects.
And last week the two reminisced in what might be Evans’s last trip to Chandler’s Perley Street store, because at the end of the month, Chandler’s Cake & Candy Supplies will close its doors for good.
It’s been a good 15-year run for Chandler, but with a significant increase in her monthly operating costs this year, it didn’t make financial sense to stay open, she said. So she made the difficult decision to close up shop instead of moving to a new location.
“It’s a fast finish,” Chandler said. “We didn’t think we’d close this way, but I couldn’t justify paying that much more.”
Evans is just one of the hundreds of customers – many who became much more than just someone who bought stuff off the store shelves – who have come in to catch up one final time.
“Some people have been coming in for 15 years, since my first week,” Chandler said.
Some encouraged her to move to another location, even researching available storefronts for her, while others wanted her to put the business up for sale – if for no other reason, to keep it going.
“That part has been uplifting and makes you feel good,” Chandler said.
But Chandler really is the business. She’s the one who has a wealth of baking and decorating knowledge, so she instead opted to close the doors. And like she has been for the last few weeks and will be through the end of January, Chandler is selling off everything in the store (and we mean everything), at a discounted rate.
“I’m not a storage kind of person,” she said.
It’s bittersweet and emotional for Chandler, who expected to run the store until she retired – which is a bit of a change from when she opened. Back then, she was nervous about signing a two-year lease.
“The first five months I was wondering if the door opened, but people eventually found me and it worked out,” she said.
It seems that there was a need for not only the stuff she sold, but the advice she offered up.
Chandler will miss her daily interactions with customers, finding out how a cake turned out or what’s been happening with their grandkids.
“I love the one on one and that’s why most people come in,” she said. “I loved coming in every morning and wondering, ‘What is today going to bring?’ ”
Not only did Chandler sell cookie cutters, rent out cake pans in all sorts of fun designs and offer up tips, but she hosted all kinds of classes. There were ones for cookie decorating, gingerbread house creating and cookie making.
She even showed us how to make a killer gingerbread house and gave pointers for other stories as well.
She taught children who had no experience and aspiring home bakers looking to perfect their crafts. There was something for everyone at Chandler’s.
And while Chandler expected to be open for many more years, she’s not too worried about the future. She has options – like baking cakes and teaching at other locations – but just hasn’t figured out that next step yet. She is keeping her Facebook page and website going to update people when she does decide on her next endeavor.
“I have a lot of things I can do, I just have to decide what direction I want to go in,” she said. “Every time I’ve left a job, I’ve never had another one. I always fall into something.”
Well whatever it is, we wish Chandler well.