Houlton Region

Betty Marie’s Sweet Shop finds new home

HOULTON, Maine — Candy lovers did not have to look very far to find the new home of Betty Marie’s Sweet Shop. 

Owner Charlene Tabb only had to look two doors down from her previous location to find a new home for her fledgling candy business. The shop officially reopened on June 8 at its new 66 Main St. location, almost one year to the date that she first opened in the Shiretown.

“The building we were in previously sold and our lease was up,” Tabb said. “This property was available and it was a better space for us.”

Tabb first opened her business on June 1, 2019, in the former home of Uncle Willy’s Candy Shop, which had closed in January 2017. The name has a significant meaning for Tabb as Betty was the name of her grandmother and Marie was her husband’s grandmother.

Gummies in various sizes and shapes are available at Betty Marie’s Sweet Shop in downtown Houlton. (Joseph Cyr)

Featuring homemade fudge, peanut butter balls and gourmet chocolates and truffles made right on site, Betty Marie’s Sweet Shop is also a trip down memory lane for people. Many of the candy items available are things one may have found in the 1960s and 1970s.

Items such as wax candy bottles, jaw breakers and “Pop Rocks” along with a wide assortment of candy bars not found in local big box stores, salt water taffy, gummies of various shapes and sizes and a large assortment of Jelly Belly jelly beans are available to satisfy almost every sweet tooth. 

“I like to make little fun things like chocolate pops with sprinkles,” Tabb said. “But not in this heat, unfortunately, because it would melt.”

According to the business’ website, Betty Marie’s Sweet Shop was founded on a fudge recipe belonging to Tabb’s grandmother, Norma. “But a few things happened along the way. The recipe was handed down after Norma’s death and was not complete. So while the chocolate walnut fudge tasted okay, it needed a facelift. After experimenting with the recipe, trying lots of chocolate and expanding on flavors, our chocolatier decided to open the store.”

A variety of novelty candy items can be found at Betty Marie’s Sweet Shop in downtown Houlton. (Joseph Cyr)

The recent heatwave, with temperatures in the 90s, has not been conducive to making chocolates, but she plans to be back in the kitchen creating new items as soon as the heat breaks.

Her daughter, Bethany, occasionally helps out in the store when she is not attending classes at the University of Maine at Presque Isle or teaching dance classes with the Houlton School of Dance.

Many of her customers say they are transported back in time when visiting her store, seeing items they have not had since they were small children decades ago. Novelty gift candy is one of the bigger sellers, she added.

“Raspberry seems to be one of the biggest flavors for people in this town,” Tabb said. “Watermelon is probably a close second.”

She opened the business as her retirement from homeschooling. Betty Marie’s Sweet Shop is open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. For information, visit the business’ Facebook page.

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