With the building’s history spanning decades of different establishments, owner of Pops Sweet Shop Cindy Anderson decided to sell her Gearhart business of nearly 15 years.
In 2016 during a visit to Gearhart, Traci Williams passed the shop with its for sale sign posted in the window and a friend suggested she buy the place; and so she did.
In February of this year, Williams opened the new Sweet Shop to welcoming acclaim. Though the building, interior and menu may look the same, look again. Williams has renovated, remodeled and refurbished both sides of the building. She removed the false wall and shutters, opening up the closed area to extend the shop’s new list of wares.
As with many historical buildings, the Sweet Shop has gone through several transitions. In the 1920s, the business was known as Poppino’s Sweet Shop, which operated as a soda fountain, then one side became a high-end beauty salon in the 1950s, later an antique shop and finally a boarded up office space across from Pops.
The closed space still had remnants of the beauty salon — tall mirrors, workstations and ornate columns. Williams left the mirrors for the ambiance and was able to utilize the stations to display products, and the columns separate the larger room from a lounge area.
The extended side of the building has become a gathering place with its inviting sofa of warm-colored leather and oversized coffee table stacked with books and games. She has added Wi-Fi, a workspace and a big screen TV. Williams refers to it as “an extension of my home,” adding, “I want it to be open and homey, a place to bring the grandkids.”
Realizing Pops was known for its coffee, homemade waffle cones and breakfast scones, Williams wanted to maintain that sentiment, yet, lay a foundation of her own. In a few short months, she created a new look, new menu and brought in new products. She emphasizes highlighting local, organic and homemade items. She also supports products made by women and by people through her advocacy work.
In addition to selling coffee, ice cream and scones, her homemade soups, tuna salad and wraps have become word-of-mouth famous. She’s added a sizable wine selection with wine accessories. There’s also growler jugs and covers; picnic baskets; condiments, sauces and jams; teas; candy and baked goods. She sells books, games and beach toys for kids. Williams noted it’s one of the last stops before the beach where shoppers can buy almost anything they need for a beach outing.
Williams admits she is no chef and her homemade soups, salads, wraps and baked goods are as organic as she can make them. She changes up the recipes to keep the offerings fresh and trendy, simple to decadent. Her experience comes from cooking for a large family, children with allergies, and her travels where she experienced all kinds of foods, calling herself and daughters “foodies.” During those travels, she took a baking class in France and a cooking class in Italy.
Williams has begun to establish herself into the community. The Sweet Shop has become part of the Gearhart ArtWalk, supporting local artists. She supports local organizations and wants to offer employment to people who are working on rebuilding their lives. At some point, she would also like to work with the culinary students at Seaside High School, and future plans include having a farmers market in the garden area west of the building. “It’s about paying it forward,” said Williams.
Her purpose for the Sweet Shop is to build the business for success and to support her family. At the same time, she’s all about supporting local businesses and being neighborly
As part of her support and being neighborly campaign, Williams would like to form a merchants group for Gearhart businesses. “Seven businesses have expressed interest in a business round table along with the mayor and a council member,” said Williams, “there are many possibilities to support each business here.”
Though Williams does not believe the Sweet Shop is the last chapter in her life, she does see it as a gathering place and an anchor to the town. She loves living on the coast and sees it as a magical place where people can connect with the earth. She also views Gearhart as a bit quirky and stays neutral when it comes to its politics. “I always say I’m Switzerland.”
With a background in public relations, marketing and sales, Williams is well on her way to becoming a contributing member of the community. The new Sweet Shop is a blend of sweet and savory, world travels and the love of family, gatherings and food; offering something for everyone from the price conscious to the free-spirited spender, the simple to the decadent and everything in between.
She offers a stress free environment for both customers and employees. “We give free water and our prices are really reasonable and honest. If people leave happy, they come back. Besides, we offer ice cream, wine and coffee — there shouldn’t be any stress,” she added with a smile.