Rae Stang of Lucky’s Chocolates wants to retire, but relax — no one needs to give up their lemon truffles or coconut haystacks. After the business cultivated a presence in Saugerties over the last decade, longtime employees, Malden-on-Hudson residents and siblings Tavin and Verona Mitchell, 21 and 23 respectively, are slated to take the reins on Dec. 1 of this year, along with the help of their mother Serena and family.
“I’ve wanted to retire for a few years,” said Stang, who’s turning 68 next week. “It’s every holiday, working here, you know? You don’t really have any time for family or anything like that. In the last few years I’ve been trying to figure out the way to pass it on to someone. I didn’t want to just close it — it’s an asset to the village and I just didn’t want to kill it off. I want to travel, I have a house on the west coast in Florida. There’s that developing. I do art, I like to be able to create things that aren’t edible. I want to get healthy — it’s that period of your life when you make it or break it.”
A position at Lucky’s Chocolate was the first and last (so far) job Tavin ever applied for. She was 16.
“It was literally lucky,” she said. “I remember thinking it was a really cute place, and I wouldn’t mind working at a really cute place. I wasn’t really on a job hunt and I just decided that I was old enough to get a job. I wrote an application and didn’t look anywhere else, it took a month to hear back.”
Since then, Tavin’s moved up the ranks from a cashier to actually making the goodies to a catch-all position that includes managerial duties. Currently studying business at SUNY New Paltz, she has also since earned a culinary degree at BOCES. Her sister Verona joined later that year in 2013 as seasonal help and also never left; she has served as manager for two years.
“I’m very detail-oriented — I love organizing and things like that,” said Verona. “Even though it’s not fun for Rae to do it, I love to come in and clean up and organize. It’s always been such an easy just for me to be a part of. I never felt really nervous or anxious about Rae or my coworkers. It’s my first job as well, and working with them has changed a lot for me. I don’t know where I’d be without Lucky’s, but I wouldn’t be as outgoing. Rae makes it really easy to be yourself.”
With a slew of signature recipes and a well-known local brand, the girls have sidestepped the first hurdle that would come from starting a business from scratch. Although the ownership of the business has yet to be signed over to the Mitchells, they already have a good idea of where to start.
“Where Rae started is how it used to be,” said Tavin. “With this new generation coming up, places make things more accessible [via the Internet] and that’s where we need to start — online business. That can help us get walk in people as well. We want to expand the brand. Saugerties is growing and everyone needs to grow with it.”