FARGO—Kristina Lau did her homework before launching a revamped version of her business.
She attended a trade convention in Chicago and met representatives of wholesalers and manufacturers as she started personally sampling hundreds of products.
But Lau probably didn't get much sympathy from friends for her hard work as she chewed her way through gummy candies and sugary surprises to develop Yeobo, a new sweet shop operating in the back of a downtown Fargo boutique.
Yeobo, which comes from the Korean term of endearment that translates to "honey" or "sweetheart," is a fitting name considering it's what she calls her husband, Kevin Lau. The couple met at North Dakota State University and got engaged while they were studying abroad in South Korea.
She opened Yeobo on April 22, filling up the back wall that previously housed prints at Unglued, 408 Broadway N., and said the response has been worth her sweet labor.
"It's been really fun to see kids especially come in and see everything, because what's better than a kid in a candy store?" she said. "But it's also really cool because adults have come in, too."
Lau admits she's had a bit of a sweet tooth her whole life. Anyone who knows her knows all about her love of candy, especially the fruity kind.
"I remember trying to find my grandparent's stashes of candy around their house when I was little, or going to different candy shops in small towns when I'd travel with my family and just thinking that was the best memory," she said.
She opened Bakeology about five years ago, making gluten-free and traditional cupcakes and cakes that she's sold at Unglued since the market opened. But she always wanted to branch out more, and candy called her.
She gets the gummy candies and other sweets from a few different wholesalers who make the goods in the U.S., Canada, the Netherlands, Spain and other countries. She rebranded her business as Yeobo last month, saying it needed a new name as it moved beyond baked goods, and she now has 60 bins of gummy candies at Unglued.
Customers can create their own candy mixes, paying $.67 per ounce or $10.72 per pound.
Lau originally wanted to open up in her own downtown space and even came close to leasing a spot last year. But she said it was hard to find affordable real estate, and her plans to go solo fizzled out.
She already was selling cupcakes at Unglued, which was founded by her sister-in-law, Ashley Morken, and said it seemed like it could complement the boutique.
"It's actually attracted a whole new clientele to the store that haven't really shopped her before, so that's been really fun to see," she said.
The candy bins were a hit with Nora Schafer on Monday, May 8. Her mother, Kayla Schafer, brought her there to pick out a treat for her fourth birthday. She settled on a unicorn lollipop.
Schafer said Yeobo was a "very cool" addition to the store and something fun for her daughter to enjoy. It was harder to get a comment out of Nora Schafer—she was a bit preoccupied looking at her candy choices.
Lau said she's excited to share her sweet tooth with downtown shoppers and visitors.
"I just want people to experience sweets again and those childhood memories that they have had with candy," she said.
Where: Unglued, 408 Broadway, Fargo
Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday