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Sweet Greetings acquisition part of broader local IDA rebranding, says owner (6 photos)

Sweet Greetings and its new location in the Market Mall are featured in this week’s What’s Up Wednesday

Sweet Greetings, a popular Sault gift shop which also sells gourmet chocolate and other treats, has new ownership and a new location.

Local IDA Drug Mart owners Joe Greco, Mark Febbraro, Frank Perna and Sam DeSumma bought the business and, as of late January, moved it from the downtown core and gave it a new home within the Market Mall IDA Drug Mart.

“We’re in the process of rebranding the Market Mall gift shop to Sweet Greetings at IDA, then once we get that one done, store by store we’re going to rebrand all four of our IDA locations here in Sault Ste. Marie, with gift shops in those locations too, so eventually there will be four Sweet Greetings locations,” Greco said, speaking to SooToday.

Greco said he hopes to see the Market Mall IDA gift shop rebranding done by the end of spring, the IDA gift shops at Wellington Square Mall and Station Mall done by summer and fall respectively.

As for the Ideal Drug Mart located on Wellington Street East, Greco said “there’s another surprise coming there hopefully.”

Jennifer Kotyk had owned and operated Sweet Greetings since 2007.

She and three others (her former staff members) will remain as Sweet Greetings employees within the Market Mall IDA.

How does it feel to own a business, sell it, then stay on as an employee of that same business?

“They (Greco and his business partners) approached me back in November...after thinking about it in November and December, turning 65 and still super active, I had been thinking I’d really like to enjoy some downtime with all my friends who are retired,” Jennifer said.

“After thinking about it long and hard, I thought ‘I can let go’ because they offered me the perfect situation. They offered to buy the business but they’ve kept me on as their boutique coordinator. I’m doing their buying for them but I don’t have to do the paperwork a business owner has to do anymore.”

“Who gets that kind of opportunity?” Jennifer chuckled.

“I love the customers. I never really fell in love with the paperwork.” 

“When I went to speak with her she was thrilled because she’s looking to slow down a little bit but she still loves to work, so I said ‘how about I buy the business and you just run it?’” Greco said.

“I’ve known Joe Greco since he was a little fella. His grandparents were our neighbours and he was always a really great customer of mine. We used to make jokes. He’d say ‘someday I’m going to buy your business when you’re ready to sell,’” Jennifer said.

A longtime Sault business person, Jennifer previously owned a Second Cup outlet in Cambrian Mall, then The Loon’s Nest (a boutique first located in Station Mall, then in the downtown core on Queen Street East) before purchasing Sweet Greetings from its original owners in 2007. 

At that time, Sweet Greetings was located on Trunk Road, the business soon moving to Queen Street East.

“I love art, I love colour, I love texture. Those were all the cornerstones of The Loon’s Nest and I combined them with my love of chocolate, which is why I bought Sweet Greetings,” Jennifer said.

Sweet Greetings is what Jennifer describes as “a full-service gift shop” which also sells Godiva chocolate, many other treats and features a coffee bar.

“I love that coffee bar. I think it makes it a little more European, a little more relaxing,” Jennifer said.

Gift baskets may be ordered from Sweet Greetings, with delivery also available.

Her sale of Sweet Greetings to Greco and his business partners became official in late January.

“It’s different (to be working for someone else), but it’s a nice way to slowly back out the door (before retirement). They’re very supportive of all my choices and they really like my staff. We’ve got a huge space to work in,” Jennifer said. 

Currently recovering at home after hip replacement surgery, Jennifer said “once I get back there in mid-March, I think I’ll enjoy it, with the only bit of paperwork to do is placing orders, and getting to look at beautiful things again.”

Reflecting on her career, having owned and operated three different businesses, Jennifer said “it’s the people you meet along the way (when asked what being in business has meant to her). I have always believed everybody, in any walk of life, is somehow in the service industry, and it’s pretty rewarding.”

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Darren Taylor

About the Author: Darren Taylor

Darren Taylor is a news reporter and photographer in Sault Ste Marie. He regularly covers community events, political announcements and numerous board meetings. With a background in broadcast journalism, Darren has worked in the media since 1996.
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