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Born on Etsy, candy shop opens in Jackson Ward

RICHMOND, Va. — A candy retailer has planted roots along the downtown stretch of West Broad Street following a successful run selling online.

A Secret Forest, which sells made-from-scratch hard candy, particularly lollipops, opened this month at 102 W. Broad St.

The shop is part-workspace, part-retail storefront for Vanessa Beller, a Los Angeles transplant.

After going to culinary school, Beller began working as an independent baker, making wedding cakes and pastries. But she was having a hard time out West.

“It became really hard in L.A.; you need so much money to start up,” Beller said. “It was stressful. I was delivering wedding cakes in my car.”

Beller turned to hard candies, in which she’s always had an interest. After making some for friends, they suggested she take her business online.

“This was like five years ago. People were like, ‘You should totally open an Etsy store,’ and I was like, ‘What’s that?’” she said, laughing.

Read more on RichmondBizSense.