Small business is sweet independence for Eugene local, Katie Osset.
By Jasmin Jimenez
Retrieving jars filled with Jelly Bellys or gummy sharks from shelves to then refill those jars or arranging vintage candy on a table to be atheistically pleasing arrangements – never job obligations that Katie Osset saw herself doing throughout her working life.
Sporting a grey apron and blonde hair pulled back into a ponytail with the help of a visor that would even make Chip Kelly jealous, Osset moves quickly sorting candy behind the long dark counter of Goody’s Chocolates, Candy & Ice Cream.
“I wanted to be a general contractor but the housing business isn’t that great right now, so I’m a homemaker in my part time and that’s where I think I’ll end up,” says Osset as she gracefully places an enormous jar of gummy sharks on the counter.
Osset, a 25-year-old resident of Eugene, once aspired to work side-by-side with her family in their general contracting business. After exploring numerous courses at Lane Community College, still nothing appealed to Osset quite like general contracting.
Since the boom of the recession, Katie began to consider that becoming a house contractor was not entirely realistic because the housing market drastically slowed down.
Osset still needed cash and a means of providing for herself. She used Craigslist in hopes of trying to find a job that wouldn’t take too much time away from her long-term boyfriend and stepson.
“I applied only to low-key places like Hallmark and other family businesses,” Osset says. “I preferred working in an environment that depended on me having a good attitude, rather than how low-cut my shirt was or how much makeup I was wearing.”
Osset eventually found work at Goody’s Chocolate, Candy, and Ice Cream, a candy shop located in downtown Eugene inside of the 5th Street Market complex.
Goody’s smells of butter and sweet caramel thanks to the large red and white checkered popcorn machine. As people peer into the store’s large glass windows, taking in all the colors, smells and even vintage candies that pack the shelves.
As another family enters the store, Osset’s eyes scan their faces making sure that people find the treat they’ve been craving, whether it be a creamy peanut butter cup or a pound of strawberry sour belts.
Having worked for Goody’s since November 2012, Osset has learned three things about her work environment: Goody’s runs at a faster pace, is more friendly and ever changing than she presumed.
One day at Goody’s may consist of a rowdy group of six-year-olds coming in to get ice cream, and another day Osset may be in star struck when someone like songwriter Ray J comes walking through the doors as he did this past February.
As a family of four whispers and lingers by the ice cream counter to the right side of the store, Osset steers her immediate attention to the family and says, “If there’s anything I can get for you please let me know!” She then returns to correctly sorting jars of candy near the cash register and on the large wooden shelves behind her.
“Our family has always been involved with our dad’s construction company and Katie was the only 12 year-old that I knew that really, really wanted to be a general contractor,” says Donny, Osset’s brother, who stopped by Goody’s to show off his new haircut to his sister.
Numerous high-end stores like Swahili surround Goody’s as well as some small family operated businesses. Although Osset never imagined herself working in a candy store, she says that she has grown to appreciate the value of family owned businesses and what positive influences they bring to a community.
“I was fairly surprised to see how much effort goes into running a small business,” said Osset. “The work is constant, but my job can make people happy.”
Osset’s life outside of Goody’s consists primarily of spending time with her tight knit family as well as her boyfriend’s son, whom she feels close enough to call him her stepson.
Goody’s has Osset working six days of the week, five hours a day, which Osset thinks is the perfect amount of time to devote to work and still to feel independent and not restricted by a job.
“She really seems to like her work, she enjoys the people and she’s always coming home with copious amounts of candy for me to mooch off of,” Donny, her brother, says. “What’s not to like about this job?”
Perhaps Katie Osset never became that general housing contractor that she had been dreaming of since she was 12, but she is truly satisfied with her occupation working for a small business.
Enjoying the moments she spends with her family, Katie says that’s she foresees herself ultimately becoming a homemaker.
A mother and her two children walk to the counter and place their bags of candy on a small silver scale, which Katie then weighs to calculate a price.
The excited children scoop up other treats near the cash register while their mother is paying. Their mother scolds her kids to keep their hands to themselves and she apologizes twice to Katie for her kids’ behavior.
“They are no problem at all trust me,” says Katie and she smiles reassuringly.
As the family exits, Katie adjusts her visor then looks directly at the children and says, “Come back soon guys, thank you!”