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Let’s Eat: A young family business

V’s Sugar Rush satisfies the city’s sweet tooth with their candy apples.

When Vanessa Desrosiers returned to her hometown Thunder Bay after a relationship breakdown, she found it difficult to find a job during the pandemic.

Before Mother’s Day this year, she picked up a bag of apples at Walmart, when her older son, Lucas, suggested she make candy apples to sell. “You know how to make them, you’re good at it,” he said. She thought she would give it a try and posted the apples for sale on Facebook Marketplace. She got so many messages asking for candy apples that she had to go to the Wholesale Club and buy boxes of apples.

“After that everybody kept asking me, ’Is this a one-time thing?’ So I decided, the [Canadian Lakehead Exhibition] fair isn’t here, I’ll be the fair and do the candy apples all year long,” she explains.

She asked another local business owner for advice, and called the health unit to get her kitchen inspected and registered her business with the city. The name, V’s Sugar Rush, was another suggestion by Lucas. “He says, ‘You’re always on the rush, you’re always busy.’ So I kept the name.”

Desrosiers runs the business out of her home with the help of her partner Pierre Dallaire and her two sons Lucas, 12, and Timothy, 9. “This is our business, we all work together,” Desrosiers says with pride. “They do their fair share of work with the business.”

V’s Sugar Rush uses Granny Smith apples and the candy apples come in different colours and flavours. The apples are sold for $5 per apple, and for a bit extra, can be wrapped and decorated for special occasions such as birthday parties and weddings. Desrosiers is also expanding into caramel apples and fudge, and plans to try making sugar-free candy apples as well.

Customers pick up their apples at Desrosiers’ home near John Street. She says she is booked a few weeks in advance for special occasions and has even been booked for Thanksgiving. In a busy week, she can go through 500 apples.

“It was Lucas’ idea,” she says. “If it weren’t for my sons, I wouldn’t be doing this."

Desrosiers is very happy with the way her business is going. “I didn’t think it would work,” she admits. “But everybody is happy every time they pick up. I get a lot of regulars so it’s nice.”

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