Westborough’s Sugar Shack strives to continue providing opportunities for students

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By Morgan Hume, Contributing Writer

Westborough – Like many small businesses nowadays, the Sugar Shack candy store in Westborough needs support from the community if they are to continue operating.

Due to the coronavirus, the local candy shop closed in-person shopping in compliance with statewide restrictions. Since then, Manager Kristen Dadah Wall said the store has looked different as stronger sanitation procedures have been put in place, employees are wearing face masks, and there is no loose candy for sale. When the store eventually reopens to the public, there will be social distancing precautions in place.

In the meantime, the Sugar Shack has continued taking orders online, selling everything from graduation gift sets to boxes filled with movie theater favorites at a variety of price points. The store offers curbside pickup and free delivery service throughout Westborough on Wednesdays and Fridays on orders of $20 or more.

But the Sugar Shack does more than fix a sweet tooth on Main Street. The store is also the on-site learning lab for students in the Westborough Public Schools’ Bridging Over to Right Opportunities (BORO) program.

The program aims to give opportunities for adult students ages 18-22, with special abilities, the opportunity to practice business and retail skills. A portion of sales from the store also goes back to supporting the BORO program.

“It’s important that we keep sustained because without the store, the students don’t have the vocational learning opportunity,” said BORO Program Coordinator Erin LaPrad.

Dadah Wall and LaPrad said they miss having the students working alongside them, but they have been keeping the students engaged by giving them updates on any changes to the store. They hope that the students are looking forward to the improvements the shop has made recently and the fun tasks they will be assigned when they are able to return.

“It’s part of their schedules and it’s something that they really enjoy doing, between working and packaging products and engaging with customers,” said Dadah Wall. “They really did enjoy being here on a regular basis, so I know there’s quite a few students who miss their time here at the Sugar Shack.”

With the loss of foot traffic and passersby popping in for a treat, the Sugar Shack is working hard to keep customers in the loop as much as possible on their Facebook and Instagram accounts. Dadah Wall and LaPrad have been trying to increase the shop’s social media presence and build a stronger online audience. They said they hope to develop a robust online platform by the time students come back.

“We’ve been trying to increase our followers so that customers know we’re still here, what’s going on, that we appreciate the support they’ve given us and that we are constantly launching and doing new things,” said Dadah Wall.

Since opening its doors in November of 2018, one year after the BORO program launched, the Sugar Shack has been a part of Westborough community, and they hope to stay that way. Dadah Wall said they need to come out of these hard times as strong as possible.

“We want to be part of the community,” she said. “We want this community to be part of the Sugar Shack.”