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Stage Stop In the News

Stage Stop Candy on the Cape is a Must-See

By Patricia Harris | Globe Correspondents – Reprinted from The Boston Globe
August 21. 2015

DENNISPORT — When you walk in the door at Stage Stop Candy, a clerk will greet you with a two-tier candy tray overflowing with cranberry cordials. It’s Stage Stop’s signature chocolate, invented by Raymond Hebert shortly after he and his wife, Donna, opened the shop in the early 1980s.

“We needed something that said Cape Cod,” Hebert explains. The couple was exploring in late winter and stumbled on an abandoned bog that was full of big, juicy frozen cranberries. “We used them the same way we’d make a cherry cordial,” he says, “and it worked.”
Hebert was hardly a newcomer to confectionery. He grew up in Shrewsbury, where his family operated Hebert Candies’ Candy Mansion. “I was the kid in the candy store growing up,” he says. So Stage Stop makes all the classics of the confectionery trade, including truffles, turtles, barks, and 13 flavors of creams. It also produces the quintessential sweets of summer on Cape Cod — fudge and saltwater taffy.

Even after more than three decades, Hebert remains enthusiastic about his sweet job. “It’s not work,” he says. “It’s fun. When it does get boring, it’s time to get creative.” For his “Gold Coach” line of chocolates, Hebert combines unusual flavors and airbrushes each piece with colored cocoa butters for a painterly effect.

Stage Stop puts a spin on the craze for caramel with airbrushed little spheres called “trifles.” Hebert infuses a creamy liquid caramel with imported fruit purées and pours the mixture into dark or milk chocolate shells. The trifles are not much bigger than a marble, and are meant to be popped into your mouth whole. Bite down and the first taste is fruit, followed by an explosion of caramel, and then the lingering taste of chocolate.

That’s not candy — it’s art.

Great For: Buying an impressive thank you gift for your house sitter
Don’t Miss: The “Good Karma” truffle shaped like a Buddha, brushed with a gold wash, and filled with passion fruit, ginger, and spices


Raymond Hebert finds success in Cape's 'cutting-edge candy store'

Cape Cod Times
August 24. 2014

“I'm not going anywhere for a while,” Raymond Hebert of Stage Stop Candy says. “I'm only 63. I love doing this.” Raymond Hebert and his wife, Donna, are the owners of Stage Stop Candy in Dennis Port. The grandson of Frederick Hebert, who started the famed Hebert Candies Co. in Shrewsbury, Raymond Hebert is the shop's candy-maker and the only Hebert "still cooking," he said.

What's the most important thing your business does?
Well, it's more than the business. It gives us an opportunity to help the community. (Hebert is a trustee at the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History in Brewster and Donna is a trustee at the Cape Playhouse in Dennis.) Being our own bosses gives us the time to do what we want to do. But we're probably the cutting-edge candy store on Cape Cod. We invented the cranberry cordial, and the most flattering thing is everyone started copying it.

How long have you been in business?
We've been in business 33 years at the current location. Before that I was a plant manager at Hebert Candies.

What did you do before?
When I was in college, I used to cut hair. I used to charge a buck a head. It was pizza money. Then I started delivering newspapers for pizza money. Then I delivered pizzas.

How big was the staff when you started? How about now?
When we started our kids were here. They were helping out. We have five sales women that help. (Hebert and his wife do all the candy-making.)

How has the market changed since you started?
People are very allergy-conscious. I must get asked five times a day about allergies, a lot of gluten questions. We can custom make a piece of candy for a person. We need like three or four days' notice. That's the difference between us and so many candy shops down here. I am your candy-maker. I like being people's candy-maker and not just the owner. Also, everyone used to blend chocolates. Every cacao bean has a unique taste. We used to just buy a pile of beans and blend them together so everything tastes the same. We've started using origin chocolates. Every country has a bean that's unique to its country, kind of like wine.

What are your plans for your business future?
Well, I'm not going anywhere for a while. I'm only 63. I love doing this. I like experimenting. At some point I'm going to be selling the business, but I have no immediate plans to do that.

What's the best thing about having a business on the Cape?
I think the people. We've made so many great friends here. Our customers are like family.

What's the biggest challenge to having a business on the Cape?
Geography. It's all stretched out. It poses a challenge because there's that point when you don't have enough customers to make it profitable. We've always been drawing from all areas to stay in business. And wholesale. (The store's candy is sold in other shops around the Cape.)

What has been your most memorable moment with the business?
Making candy canes for the first time with my dad. We never made candy canes at Hebert Candies. It was so cool.

What advice do you have for someone starting a business on the Cape?
Don't get into too much debt. That'll kill you. And continue to accept input. Some of my best ideas come from customers. Be flexible, be creative, don't get into debt. Treat your employees like family.