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Meet Jonathan Clough and Sergio Petrina of SWEET! Hollywood

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jonathan Clough and Sergio Petrina.

Jonathan and Sergio, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Jonathan: My career originally started with Disney as a Cast Member at the Disney Store in Modesto, California. I worked my way up eventually to manage Toontown and Fantasyland Store Operations at Disneyland. From Disney my career took me to ArcLight Cinemas in Hollywood where I was Operations Manager and Marketing Director. This is where I first met Sergio Petrina, the current general manager of SWEET! I trained Sergio as an Ops Manager for ArcLight. After spending 7 years at ArcLight I accepted an opportunity as Director of Membership for the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach. In late 2012, Sergio contacted me to let me know that he was working for a new candy store in Hollywood and they needed a Director of Marketing. He set me up with a meeting with the owner and in January 2013 I joined the SWEET! team. I’ve been in candy ever since. 🙂

Sergio: I am originally from Italy and came to the United States with a job with Disney as a Cultural Representative at the Italy Pavilion at World Showcase in EPCOT Center. My career from there took me to Los Angeles and New York in the restaurant business, then onto London where I became a Casino Dealer and to Cruise Ships for 5 years where I became a manager. I met my wife, Amy, while I was working, she was a tour manager on board. After cruising I moved to Miami, then New York where I experienced 9/11 and afterward decided to move to Los Angeles where I originally went back to restaurants as an F&B Manager for the Loews Beverly Hills Hotel. After the Hotel was sold, I was hired as an Operations Manager for ArcLight Cinemas in Hollywood. After ArcLight I went to work as General Manager for Barnes and Noble. At the bookstore I met a patron who happened to be in the process of building the World’s Greatest Candy Store and he brought me on board where I opened the store and became the GM.

Has it been a smooth road?
Jonathan: There are always challenges. Our location on the 2nd floor which greatly reduces traffic flow. This led to developing much more business outside of our retail location, making chocolate and candy for other businesses. Also, we knew early on that having just candy would not work. We needed to create experiences which were attractive to our customer which is mostly tourists.

Sergio: On the employee side, we have worked really hard to ensure that the work environment is happy and drama free.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
Sergio & Jonathan: Our company is so unique! One of the coolest experiences is our “Chocolate Lab” where guests can pick the ingredients for their own custom chocolate bar and we make it right in front of their eyes! Not only do we make the bars here, but we also design and print the packaging here so it is a truly made in Hollywood experience. Having this customization also allows us to make chocolate bars for other companies including the Hollywood Pantages Theatre, Center Theatre Group, Hamakua Macadamia Nut Company, Fess Parker Winery, Penn & Teller, and many more! Companies love that they can choose their own ingredients and have custom packaging!

We also create celebrity chocolate bars. RuPaul was our first celebrity chocolate bar and continues to be our biggest seller. This also led to another unique experience at SWEET!, the RuPaul Pop-Up Shop where guests can purchase their favorite Ru merchandise including the chocolate and candy and see Ru’s gowns on display up close and personal! Another one of our celebrity partners is Elvira, Mistress of the Dark. Inside SWEET! you will find the Elvira Boo-tique filled with Elvira chocolate bars and merchandise. These experiences are not to be missed!

In SWEET! we also have STICKY where we produce our handmade traditional hard candy. This is so much fun to watch as our candy artists are able to hand sculpt letters and logos right into the candy! This is really popular for weddings, birthdays, and corporate parties.

We are also home to the Kreepsville Boutique where you will creepy and spooky fun apparel and souvenirs all year round! This is also the home of our candy counter which showcases our made in store fudge, truffles, cinnamon glazed nuts, and many other confections!

Cinematic Pictures Group is adjacent to SWEET! and a partner with us. This beautiful gallery features the stunning photography of celebrity photographer Dennys Ilic and director TJ Scott. This gallery has a stage and events space which allows CPG and SWEET! to host everything from parties to concerts!

There are 2 things that we are most proud of, the first is the wonderful relationships we have built over the years, whether it is with business partners, or celebrities, or our regular guests… we truly have some of the best people in the world around us. The second thing we are most proud of is our commitment to standing up for what we believe in and donating to causes that we are passionate about. We donate proceeds from the sale of chocolate bars to organizations such as Planned Parenthood, National Parks, Actors and Others for Animals, ACLU of Southern California, SPCALA, Los Angeles LGBT Center, we have a sign at both entrances of our store that reads: “We welcome All Genders, All Races, All Sexual Orientations, All Countries of Origin and Immigration Status, and All Religions or Lack Of”. We believe business should be active and involved in their communities and we are proud to stand for that.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
Los Angeles is truly one of the best places in the world. And truly its more about a commitment and want to do something than it is about location. This is a great place to start out, but you also have to be willing to learn. Learn about your area, your customers, and what you can do to make it a better experience for them. You will also have failures, which are the best learning opportunities.

Contact Info:

  • Address: SWEET! Hollywood
    Hollywood & Highland Center, 2nd Floor next to Dolby Theatre
    6801 Hollywood Blvd, Ste 201
    Los Angeles, CA 90028
  • Website: www.sweetlosangeles.com
  • Phone: 323-462-3111
  • Email: jonathansweetevents@gmail.com
  • Instagram: @sweethollywoodcandy
  • Facebook: sweetstorela
  • Twitter: @sweetstorela
  • Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/sweet-los-angeles-4

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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