New sweet shop in Mendenhall Mall offers treats from morning to night

A year ago, Kelly and Windy Swearingin had a vision of opening an old-fashioned soda shoppe in Juneau.

By the time the store opened this fall, it contained much more than just soda. Aurora Sweets, located just inside one of the entrances to the Mendenhall Mall, offers candy from around the world, coffee, sodas, soft-serve ice cream, milkshakes and more specialty drinks.

Windy refers to the store as a “sugar shop,” and she said the idea evolved quickly once the husband-and-wife duo decided to go with sweets.

“We really liked the idea of an old-fashioned soda shop,” Windy said. “That’s what we explored, and then we added the concept of candy into it and then, of course, coffee, because we wanted some place that will go from morning to night. That’s kind of where we started and it kind of grew from there.”

The store is open during the same hours as the mall, running from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday-Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays and 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays. The shop serves Kona Coffee from Hawaii for the morning rush and carries candy from places as far away as Germany for midday snacks.

Along with prompting patrons to treat themselves, Aurora Sweets also looks to promote creativity. Each employee there (there are currently six of them) makes his or her own special dish. One employee created a caramel apple drink, topped with toasted marshmallow whipped cream that Kelly calls “addicting.”

“It tastes like you’re eating the real thing, actually,” he said.

Kierstyn Cadiente, another employee, specializes in a Cherry Garcia, which is an ice cream dish that includes chocolate chunks and cherries. For each Cherry Garcia she sells, Cadiente gets 10 percent of the profit, an incentive meant to encourage employees to make the best concoctions they can.

“We want them to be very creative and we want them to feel like they have some voice in the business as well, so they have opportunity to create their own drinks,” Windy said. “They can create their own milkshakes or coffee or whatever they feel inspired to create.”

Customers are also encouraged to stray from the menu, and can request any kind of ice cream they want. If the shop doesn’t have that kind of ice cream, the employee will try to make that flavor.

“You can come in and be as creative as you would like,” Windy said.

The shop is still filling out its candy selection, filling its plastic dispensers one by one as people request them or as inspiration strikes the employees. The Swearingins are running a sale throughout the winter, offering 10 percent off coffee and ice cream.

They hope to capitalize on foot traffic as people enter and leave the mall while offering people an inviting atmosphere to enjoy a drink or a scoop out of the cold. By the time they got their store open, the Swearingins saw the specifics of their plans change, but they ended up with a place that is inviting — and as sweet — as they had hoped.

“It’s small and cozy,” Windy said, “so it seemed to fit what we were looking for.”

 


 

• Contact reporter Alex McCarthy at 523-2271 or alex.mccarthy@juneauempire.com.

 


 

More in News

The Aurora Borealis glows over the Mendenhall Glacier in 2014. (Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Aurora forecast

Forecasts from the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Geophysical Institute for the week of Dec. 3

Mountain reflections are seen from the Mendenhall Wetlands. (Courtesy Photo / Denise Carroll)
Wild Shots: Photos of Mother Nature in Alaska

Superb reader-submitted photos of wildlife, scenery and/or plant life.

Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire 
At Wednesday evening’s special Assembly meeting, the Assembly appropriated nearly $4 million toward funding a 5.5% wage increase for all CBJ employees along with a 5% increase to the employer health contribution. According to City Manager Rorie Watt, it doesn’t necessarily fix a nearly two decade-long issue of employee retention concerns for the city.
City funds wage increase amid worker shortage

City Manager says raise doesn’t fix nearly two decade-long issue of employee retainment

People and dogs traverse the frozen surface Mendenhall Lake on Monday afternoon. Officials said going on to any part of Mendenhall Lake can open up serious risks for falling into the freezing waters. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)
Officials warn residents about the dangers of thin ice on Mendenhall Lake

Experts outline what to do in the situation that someone falls through ice

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Police calls for Saturday, Dec. 3

This report contains information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Molly Yazwinski holds a 3,000-year-old moose skull with antlers still attached, found in a river on Alaska’s North Slope. Her aunt, Pam Groves, steadies an inflatable canoe. (Courtesy Photo /Dan Mann)

 

2. A 14,000-year-old fragment of a moose antler, top left, rests on a sand bar of a northern river next to the bones of ice-age horses, caribou and muskoxen, as well as the horns of a steppe bison. Photo by Pam Groves.

 

3. Moose such as this one, photographed this year near Whitehorse in the Yukon, may have been present in Alaska as long as people have. Photo by Ned Rozell.
Alaska Science Forum: Ancient moose antlers hint of early arrival

When a great deal of Earth’s water was locked up within mountains… Continue reading

FILE - Freight train cars sit in a Norfolk Southern rail yard on Sept. 14, 2022, in Atlanta. The Biden administration is saying the U.S. economy would face a severe economic shock if senators don't pass legislation this week to avert a rail worker strike. The administration is delivering that message personally to Democratic senators in a closed-door session Thursday, Dec. 1.  (AP Photo / Danny Karnik)
Congress votes to avert rail strike amid dire warnings

President vows to quickly sign the bill.

Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire
Juneau state Sen. Jesse Kiehl, left, gives a legislative proclamation to former longtime Juneau Assembly member Loren Jones, following Kiehl’s speech at the Juneau Chamber of Commerce’s weekly luncheon Thursday at the Juneau Moose Family Center.
Cloudy economy, but sunnier political outlook lie ahead for lawmakers, Kiehl says

Juneau’s state senator tells Chamber of Commerce bipartisan majority a key to meaningful action

Most Read