Pair of sugar mamas open new candy store

Catonsville residents with a sweet tooth now have a new place to satisfy their craving — and are happy about it, if the store's recent grand opening is any indication.

Brandy Benhayon and Amanda Sinclair held the grand opening for their new sweet shop, Sugar Momma's, on May 11, and were thrilled with the response.

"We were so busy," said Benhayon, a Catonsville resident.

Sinclair, a Glen Burnie resident, said customers standing in line would arrive at the register with nothing but a cupcake or candy wrapper in their hands because they had eaten the treats while waiting.

"The line was so long," she said. "I was very pleased with the sales and how it went."

The shop stands at 1610 Frederick Road, a site occupied by the Candy Box since 1985.

The new owners signed the lease April 26 started redecorating on April 29 and opened two weeks later.

The store had been vacant since fall of 2012.

"We didn't want to keep it the Candy Box because we weren't just going to have candy," said Sinclair, a baker by trade. "We try to carry what you can't find at 7-Eleven or Walmart."

Sugar Momma's has a variety of treats for sale, ranging from old fashioned candy to cupcakes to chocolate to custom cakes.

There is even a dipping station to have marshmallows, pretzels, apples and other items dipped in a sauce of their choice and topped with sprinkles or M&M's.

"We have a lot of the candy that we grew up with," 38-year-old Benhayon said, referring to selection of rock candy, Satellite Wafers, Zotz, Pop Rocks and Razzles.

For the grand opening, anyone who came in with a flier — which the women have been handing out for a few weeks — received a 5 percent discount. The deal brought crowds to the new business.

Teal Cary, the executive director of the Greater Catonsville Chamber of Commerce, said she is delighted to have the store open and selling candy again.

"It's great to community members turn around and invest in their community by starting a business," Cary said.

"It's just a wonderful thing that happens in Catonsville often and it says a lot about the wonderful people who we have living here and the quality of the businesses," she said.

It was "karma definitely" that got them the shop, Sinclair said.

"It kind of was like a whirlwind that fell in our laps," she said.

Benhayon's father was diagnosed with cancer in January and the two friends from North County High School in Anne Arundel County were reunited when Sinclair said she would bake treats for a bake sale fundraiser for him in February.

Sinclair owned a small baked goods company, "Auntie M's."

After her family got their Easter candies from her, Benhayon's husband suggested the two go into business together.

"Let's take it over, let's buy it out," Benhayon said he told her, referring to the Candy Box.

Conveniently, Sinclair had bought many of the Candy Box's original boxes, bags and supplies from the previous owner when the store went out of business and had an established connection that got them the store.

The ladies agree that the name of the new store, combined with its history as a candy store, has attracted the attention of area residents.

"We've definitely got people talking," Sinclair said.

The store's unique name came after deciding between Sweet Escapes and Sugar Momma's.

"We thought Sweet Escapes was a little too high end for our little sugar shack," Sinclair said.

That they each have two boys made the decision easier. Sinclair is the mother of Tristan, 6, and Austin, 2; and Benhayon has Brendan, 12, and Devin, 5.

"We're both moms and we're sweet as sugar, so it worked out perfect," Benhayon said.

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