Marc Fournier and Sylvie Richard are more than just high school sweethearts.
The co-owners of La Confiserie confectionery in Wakefield have reached an important milestone this year while celebrating the boutique’s 20th anniversary. The two lovebirds expressed their heartfelt gratitude to the surrounding community for their unwavering support throughout the years, promising to continue delighting customers for another two decades.
Reflecting on their years as makers of sweets, Marc shared his passion for confections, saying: "I've been making chocolates and candies since I was 16, 17 years old, when I worked at a bulk food store in Orleans. Easter came along, and I made my first big batch of chocolates. I was hooked."
La Confiserie initially started as a retirement project. The previous owners of Jamboree once had a small shop at La Confiserie’s current location. When they decided to sell to Marc and Sylvie, they sweetened the deal by sharing with them their cherished chutney and jam recipes dating back to 1982, a product they continue to sell.
The Hull–Chelsea–Wakefield Railway used to bring tourists to the area via the iconic Wakefield Steam Train.
"The train was there. You had a train dropping off five hundred people a day 20 paces from your door,” Marc explained.
Marc, formerly the president of the now-defunct Wakefield Steam Train Group, had tirelessly worked to keep the train running, but despite their efforts, they were unable to revive it, and its closure posed a significant economical challenge for the boutique, according to the couple.
While the train's discontinuation hit the couple hard, financially, Sylvie and Marc’s love for their village and their desire to provide a sugary haven for locals kept them going. As Sylvie emphasized, "Wakefield is the sweet life, that's what I find. It's addictive, you don't want to let go."
Their loyal customer base, who apparently have a deep affection for La Confiserie’s maple fudge, sponge toffee, and chocolates, has been unwaveringly supportive of the business.
Looking back on the past two decades, Marc described the entire journey as a highlight. With each passing day, they have had the opportunity to meet wonderful people and witness the growth of the school children who frequented their store, packing the place like sardines just a few minutes after the final bell rang. The confectionery has become a pivotal stop for kids looking to stock up on candy before heading to the community centre for skateboarding or basketball.
As for the future, the couple said they believe that the boutique's next 20 years will be "just as sweet," as Marc put it. Sylvie credits their commitment to longevity to a touch of craziness and a dreamer's spirit. Their daughter, Samia, inspired by her parents' confectionery venture, is now attending pastry school — a decision influenced by her exposure to the behind the scenes of La Confiserie’s saccharine world.