Sat 10/6 @ 11AM-9PM
Fearless is a good way to describe Cassandra Fear. Growing up, the science-minded student wasn’t discouraged about being one of the only females taking male-dominated engineering classes.
After years of successfully working in the regulatory field, Fear, who, mind you, hated baking while growing up, decided to venture into the brownie and candy world with her own home-based mail order and catering business.
Nearly a decade later, Lakewood’s Fear’s Confections is thriving with its handmade brownies, chocolates and goodies drawing people to the Madison Avenue location, which is quickly becoming the area’s geeky sweets supplier.
“I never thought I would ever own a business at all, let alone doing this this,” Fear said. “I hate cooking, my husband does all of the cooking in our house, but I do love baking. So it’s just weird that it kind of fell that way.
“I’m a huge Food Network junkie, and I was actually inspired by a show I saw about some stay-at-home moms who started a brownie business that went national. At the time, I was laid off and thought, I make a mean brownie. I could do something like that, so we actually started just as a brownie business.”
After a year on the east side of Cleveland, Fear decided to move into Lakewood where Fear’s Confections would find its audience with unique offerings, ranging from a wide variety of brownies to handmade chocolates such as caramels, buckeyes, toffees, truffles and pecan turtles. There’s also the “Geek” section that offers chocolate mustaches, chess sets and Millennium Falcons, as well as zombie cookies.
“Because I don’t have a culinary background, it’s a lot of trial and error,” Fear laughed. “I’ve never taken a pastry class or anything. It’s just kind of like experimentation.”
Folks interested in checking out Fear’s Confections may want to attend its fourth anniversary event Sat 10/6 celebration four years at the current Lakewood location. The unique day, which mirrors Fear’s personality, includes a Madison Avenue scavenger hunt, charity art show, fundraiser and fire breathers.
Considering the national attention Fear’s Confections has drawn, including a visit by the Foot Network’s Alton Brown and some controversy regarding politically charged candies offered during the last presidential election, there’s a good chance the venue will continue to grow.
Fear said the Brown visit was exhilarating and frightening. Literally overnight the shop was slammed, forcing her to hire the business’s first employee. Speaking long-term, the storeowner isn’t sure bigger is always better. However, it appears the marketplace may force Fear to figure out her future plan sooner than later.
“We’re not busy consistently enough to expand yet,” Fear said. “We’re kind of teetering on that edge, and I don’t know I want to get as big as Malley’s. I personally think that the bigger you get some of that quality goes with it. There’s less control.”
What can’t be understated is how much the candy shop’s name plays into its appeal. Depending on someone’s personality, Fear’s Confections instantly conjures up a variety of meanings.
“I think it makes people curious,” Fear said. “It kind of freaked people out in our old location. People came in and would pray for us. So I’ve had some negative connotations. Some people tell me I should change it, and I’m like, ‘It’s literally my name. I married into it. It’s mine and it’s awesome, so no.’
“But in Lakewood people love it. They think it’s a riot. It’s a cool icebreaker. They think we make nothing but bloody, gory stuff – which we do some of that here – but it’s just different and kind of reflects me. We’re not a normal chocolate shop. People walking in expect soft and pink and pretty, and it’s not. It’s just kind of fun. So I think the name helps a lot, because it makes people curious to what we’re doing.”