Meeting at Goodies candy shop on a sunny afternoon to talk through details of their upcoming 30th anniversary celebration June 7 and June 8, co-owners Lisa Meitus, Robin Roth, and Carrie Goodman look like a spring bouquet.
Wearing pink, yellow, and lavender sweaters, the trio move about the busy Highland Park store like tulips in the wind. Roth answers customer questions about chocolate options, Meitus shows a woman where the various flavors of licorice are shelved, and Goodman is up on a ladder adjusting a gift basket display.
“It’s so funny,” says Goodman. “We didn’t discuss what we were wearing before we got here, and then we all showed up, looking like a matching set.”
After years of running the business as a threesome, good coordination—planned and unspoken—is a gift the women don’t take lightly.
“We are really lucky that we work together so well. Our skills fit well with each other and we have a shared vision for where we want Goodies to go,” says Roth.
A local women-owned business since sisters Lois Morrison and Karen Ross teamed with their friend, Louise Lapping, to found the sweets and gift basket emporium in 1989, Goodies has steadily grown, now delivering baskets of sweet Goodie-ness all over the country.
Meitus, who grew up here, was introduced to one of the founding three sisters by her father-in-law. When Karen Ross was ready to sell her share in the business, Meitus stepped into the partnership. Her friend Carrie Goodman, who had a culinary degree, four boys at home and interest in a place she could work part-time, started working at the store eight years ago. When Goodies’ remaining founding partners retired in 2017, Goodman and Roth stepped up to join Meitus in the three-women partnership.
Keeping up with all that’s new in the confectionery world, the women are constantly evaluating potential products, sourcing from a wide array of vendors locally and throughout the country, attending sweets conventions, scanning the internet for trends, and talking to customers in every demographic to be sure their product inventory represents the best-tasting variety of what people crave.
“We are very responsive to customer needs and wants. Goodies really has a kinship with this community, and we are always ready to bring in more of what people want,” says Meitus.
That means there are hundreds of sweet options on the shelves, from the gummy bears, dinosaurs, robots and butterflies, to Swedish fish, four kinds of nonpareils, cherry chews and s’more bars, licorice wheels, and gumballs. Requests for gluten-free options account for newer offerings of gluten-free Rice-Crispy bars and popcorn mixes. Chocolate-covered Oreos decorated with emojis are also popular.
But when it comes to customer favorites? “The hottest things now were the hottest things when this store opened 30 years ago,” says Meitus. “English toffee in assorted varieties, chocolate- covered pretzels, and chocolate-nut barks. The classics don’t go away.”
Gift baskets, available in a variety of sizes and compositions, can be customized and make up a huge percentage of Goodies’ sales, especially during the holiday season, when orders from corporations come flooding in. Goodies best-selling classic-assortment gift basket includes chocolate covered pretzels, English toffee, Oreo bark, chocolate cherries—available in four sizes and price points—and accounts for 50 percent of Goodies’ gift-basket sales.
To continue to build business, Goodies is doing due diligence with social media posts as well as regular refreshes and upgrades to its website.
“And we stay very present and aware of our community’s wants and needs for all of the happenings, shows, sporting events, graduations, and seasonal and family special occasions that our gifts and candies help sweeten,” says Roth.
“The North Shore has been very good to Goodies,” sums Meitus. “And all of us are extremely grateful to our community for that. We’d love to see this continue for another 30 years.”
In celebration of its 30th anniversary, Goodies will be hosting an open house from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on June 7 and June 8, offering sweet samples, $30 gift card giveaways, and other prizes.
For more information, stop by Goodies at 652 Central Avenue in Highland Park, call 847-432- 0652, or visit goodiesetc.com.