Sweetly Kismet Northern Minnesota’s Largest Candy Store Has Sweet BSU Ties

For Ashley Parrott ’17, her husband, John, and their three children, opening the Sweetly Kismet Candy Store — the largest candy store in northern Minnesota —
was a leap of faith. It was also a decision that did not come easily.

“We were looking for something that had the ability to be seasonal and allow us to have flexible time with our children. Family time is very important to us, so having our own business that we could we have our kids at the store with us was a must,” Ashley said.


Their children — age 7, 12 and 14 — played a big part in the decision to start the business or not.

“It was a family decision,” she said.

The Parrotts are no strangers to the small business lifestyle — Jon has owned several successful businesses in the past. Like many small-business owners across the country, the COVID-19 pandemic threw the family unexpected challenges during some of the most crucial stages of their sweet new venture.

“We began clearing the land [for the building] in Oct. 2019. Little did we know at the time, in only a short few months, everything would change with the pandemic. From loans being delayed, construction not going as expected, all of it,” Ashley said. “The biggest challenge has been getting our shipments of product. We are still feeling the effects of shipping delays.”

What’s in the name “Sweetly Kismet”?

The couple felt from the start that if the business was meant to thrive, it would, and that’s where “kismet” — a Turkish term meaning “fate” or “destiny” — comes from. Combine that with the thousands of sweet treats for sale at the store and you get “Sweetly Kismet.”

“We strongly believe there is a reason for everything. Did it all work out in the end? Yes!” Ashley Parrott '17

Even with all their pandemic-related challenges, and with Ashley working as a labor and delivery nurse and Jon as a commercial pilot, they kept the faith their fledgling business would get off the ground and the meaning behind their business name would ring true.

“We strongly believe there is a reason for everything,” she said, referring to the pandemic-related struggles they faced early on. “Did it all work out in the end? Yes!”

The Parrotts officially opened their 4,500-square-foot showroom to the public the weekend of June 26-28, 2020. They estimate around 3,000 people visited the store that first weekend.


Sweetly Kismet is a sweet tooth’s dream come true, including both nostalgic and modern candy, cotton candy, chocolate and over 100 different specialty sodas. The couple has been working to grow the store’s selection of sugar-free products and beef jerky as well. All told, that’s over 3,500 unique products in stock at any one time.

“We pride ourselves on the freshness of the candy,” Parrott says. “All our candy comes straight from the manufacturer. It can’t get fresher than that.”

The store is open much of the year — typically early April though the first part of January — and the Parrots have big plans to grow their 14-acre location into not just a place to find both new and old confectionary favorites, but a travel destination that welcomes families to “enjoy the northern Minnesota fresh air, stretch their legs and leave feeling revived.”


They are keeping specific expansion plans under wraps at this point, but the Parrots encourage everyone to follow their Facebook page to stay up-to-date on the latest updates, exciting new products and other news.

When asked what the best part of being in the candy business is, apart from being able to have the entire family deeply involved in the business, Ashley said it is those who take the time to drop by their humble store right off of Interstate 35 near Carlton, about 20 miles southwest of Duluth.

“We love our customers,” she said. “They  truly bring joy into our lives.”

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