December 10, 2023

Tye Canning, 11, left, and his brother, Gage, 8, recently began a candy business, Sweet Tooth Skewers, with their mother, Lisa Canning. (Courtesy of Lisa Canning)
An 11-year-old entrepreneur and his 8-year-old brother have started a unique, kid-friendly business that’s bringing a sweet response from customers after only three months.
Tye Canning — the idea guy and natural-born entrepreneur — and his sidekick, younger brother Gage Canning, run Sweet Tooth Skewers out of their home in Cheshire.
The business sells 10-inch skewers with colorful, artfully placed gummy candy topped with a marshmallow dipped in sprinkles. The treats are wrapped in cellophane and tied with ribbon.
”They created the company, and I’m kind of along for the ride,” their mother, Lisa Canning, chuckled. “Everybody loves candy. I’m finding out it’s just not for kids.”
Tye got the idea when the family was visiting a seaside gift shop and they bought a skewer of candy with gummy sea creatures. When Lisa Canning asked how it was, Tye responded, “They’re good, but I think we can do it better. This would be a perfect business for us to start. This is candy. I’m a kid,” she recalled.
After a lot of experimenting, they did just that.
Skewers packed with gummy candy of all colors and shapes are being sold by Sweet Tooth Skewers, a new family company in Cheshire. (Courtesy of Lisa Canning)
Lisa Canning, a home occupational therapist, said Tye has always had “an unusual obsession” with being an entrepreneur. She’s not sure where he got it from because no one in the immediate family is an entrepreneur.
”He has a lot of good ideas,” she said.
Last year, they tried a homemade soap business at Tye’s urging, but it turned out not to be kid-friendly because there was a lot of hot liquid involved, Lisa Canning said. She said Tye likes to make money and plans to skip college and become a general contractor.
“I feel like if I was older I could take the business into my own hands,” Tye said. “I think I’m a good boss because I’m really nice.”
The pleasing-to-the-eye skewers, each a little different, are now being sold at two businesses in Cheshire, and private orders are pouring in from all around Connecticut. They are selling fast at Mabel’s Tables, an eatery/deli in Cheshire, said owner Mabel Davis.
”Customers are loving them — they’re absolutely adorable,” Davis said, adding that she broke down and ate one herself because they look so inviting.
The gummies come in numerous shapes, including frogs, ribbons, sharks, worms, dolphins, watermelon slices, peach slices, flowers, turtles and flamingos.
”For two little boys to do this, it’s amazing,” she said. “I’m so glad young kids nowadays are finding something to do except video games.”
A variety of gummy candy flavors and sizes go into each treat sold by Sweet Tooth Skewers. The company’s gummies are ordered from a distributor, so they are fresher and tastier than many bought in a store. (Courtesy of Lisa Canning)
Private order customer Jennifer Kersey purchased the skewers for her daughter’s second birthday party as favors and has an order in for another occasion.
”The kids that came over loved it,” Kersey said. “It’s a great idea, and it’s going to continue to blossom.”
Kersey said the customer service was great, as well, because Lisa Canning, who is handling that side of the business, honored the summer prices because Kersey mentioned during the summer that she was going to order in the fall.
Kersey said that just knowing the person has a heart made it all that much better.
“She cares about what you really want,” Kersey said.
Lest a person think they can get the same result by sticking gummies on a skewer themselves, Lisa Canning said there’s more to it — and it’s time-consuming. It is trickier than it looks to perfect the technique for getting the candies on the skewer without them splitting and falling off, she said.
”It’s a bit of an art,” she said.
Plus, Lisa Canning added, the company’s gummies of all shapes and flavors are ordered from a distributor, so they are fresher and tastier than those bought in a store.
Lisa Canning plans to train her sons on all aspects of the business. For now, mom makes the skewers, Tye, right, does the marshmallows and some packaging and Gage does the packaging. (Courtesy of Lisa Canning)
Lisa Canning eventually plans to train her sons on all aspects of the business. For now, mom makes the skewers, Tye does the marshmallows and some packaging and Gage does the packaging, including the ribbon.
”This is a good start to how to run a business,” she said.
As the business grows, the Canning brothers are working on developing a chocolate line and a way to branch out in candy types. They are developing a Halloween line for the upcoming season.
The price of the regular skewers is six for $20 and a bouquet is $30. They also take custom orders, but the price is a little higher. For now, the orders need to be picked up, but they are working on a way to ship orders. People are ordering from numerous towns outside of Cheshire, Lisa Canning said.
They’ve done a lot of birthday and graduation party business and many are now expressing interest in skewers for gender reveal parties.
”A lot of customers were upset they didn’t buy more because adults like them, too,” Lisa Canning said. “They’re pretty. In the daylight, they glisten like little gems.”
Customer Kara Hunter saw a Facebook post about the business and liked that it was kid-conceived.
”I liked that they wanted to follow their dream and their path. I wanted to support them,” Hunter said. She ordered 18 skewers for her children and nieces and nephews, ages 1 to 19 years old, for a back-to-school celebration.
She said the quality of the candy was superb and the presentation, “outstanding.”
”They loved them and they wanted me to get them more the next day,” Hunter said.
Copyright © 2022, Hartford Courant
Copyright © 2022, Hartford Courant


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