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Supporting Small

Highlight on small businesses in North Canton

In North Canton, people are very fortunate to have a surplus of small, local businesses. One of these small businesses is run by Renee Shaheen. Shaheen owns a freeze dried candy business called The Candy Momma. She offers a variety of different flavors, such as Skittles, Gummy Worms, Lemonheads, Nerd Clusters, caramel M&Ms, Bit-O-Honey, Charleston Chews, Laffy Taffy, Fruit Roll Ups, Snickers, Milk Duds, Jolly Ranchers, and seasonal treats. One of her current seasonal freeze dried candies offered are Peeps.

Shaheen has been running The Candy Mama for two months. Her business idea was inspired by a friend doing the same.

“I wanted to do something for extra income, I had friends in New Orleans doing it, so I began to do it as well.” Shaheen said.

Small businesses do a great job at giving back to the community in many ways and  are the foundation of the community. The Candy Momma is no stranger to giving back to her community. When asked why it is important to support small, local businesses Shaheen shared how she has given back to the community so far.

“I’ve already been asked to make baskets for a fundraiser, we support local school’s, people in need, and other small businesses.” Shaheen said.

Another small, local business in North Canton is Sol Pie Pizza. Sol Pie Pizza is run by Alan and Lisa  Frank. Sol Pie Pizza is a sustainable, organic and local restaurant.

“Our mission is to serve food that makes life better, and to be an asset to our community.”  Lisa  said.

Sol Pie Pizza is dedicated to only using non-GMO and organic ingredients, while also trying to keep their ingredients supplied by local farmers.

“We felt that there weren’t any pizza places that really cared about what was going into their food, and my husband has issues with MSG, so it was very hard to find places to eat out,” Lisa said. “We decided we would make a promise to our community. Let our kitchen be your kitchen and know exactly what is going into your food.”

Like stated earlier, with the surplus of small businesses in North Canton it can be hard for businesses to stand out. Sol Pie Pizza does a great job at differentiating themselves from their competitors.

“We were the first restaurant to go 100% non GMO in ohio, and we remain the only pizza shop in ohio that is 100% non GMO.” Alan said.

It is extremely beneficial to the community to shop at small businesses. Lisa shared her input on this:

“When you support a small business, 100% of the money stays in the community and small businesses also are the businesses that will support things like the school newspaper, other small businesses and members of the community.” Lisa said.

Little Sparrow bookshop is an independent bookstore in North Canton. Little Sparrow is owned and operated by Lorraine Wilburn and has been in business for 16 months. The idea to open a bookshop came to her during the Corona Virus quarantine.

“ I love independent bookstores, and I grew up with two great bookstores in my hometown. It’s one of the things I really missed when we moved to North Canton 11 years ago.” Wilburn said.

Wilburn has a special passion for books and bookshops that she has blessed the North Canton community with. Books and reading can bring people together and connect people from all walks of life.

“Our stories connect us and I believe books are vital to our understanding of each other and the world around us. They can also be a great escape from the world around us. Life can be tough, and there is nothing better than letting stress melt away and losing yourself in a great book,” Wilburn said.

Little Sparrow also gives local authors the opportunity to have somewhere to sell their books.

“I also carry local authors and products from local makers and local small businesses,” Wilburn said. “We have a lot of talent in the area and I am happy to offer a place to showcase that talent.”

In addition to carrying books by local authors, Little Sparrow is also providing community and connection.

“I think the more intangible ways the bookshop benefits the community might be just as important. In the last couple of decades, we have seen a big decline in “third places” or public places that provide space for public relaxation, connection, and conversation. In our divisive culture, I think we are all a little starved for community and connection,” Wilburn said. “Part of our mission is to be a third place, outside of home and work, where everyone feels safe and welcome.”








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About the Contributor
Laurisa Frank
Laurisa Frank, Copy Editor
My name is Laurisa and I am so excited for my second year on staff. I am a Copy Editor. I also play tennis!