Life takes sweet turn for former teacher Jan Lewis

Special to the TribuneOctober 27, 2013 

Talk about turning life’s lemons into positive-pink lemonade! That’s exactly what Jan Lewis squeezed together purchasing Sweet Offerings of Cambria in 2009 and then expanding to Morro Bay in August.

But Lewis, the entrepreneur, is quick to credit her partner and father, Glen Lewis, for helping her discover her passion — creating Jan’s Chocolates.

Jan Lewis grew up in Tulare, where her 84-year-old dad still harvests walnuts and pistachios. She fondly tells his story that influenced her career choices and work ethic.

“Dad was recruited out of high school to play Triple-A baseball for the Red Sox, but when Korea broke out, he was called to duty. Once home, he decided to go to Fresno State. He became a teacher and coach, a vice principal, and then he was named principal at age 30, the youngest in California at the time. He retired as personnel director for the Tulare County Office of Education.”

Lewis applied her psychotherapy training in education, but while serving as a Bay Area high school counselor, she was one of six counselors pink-slipped. Growing up, her favorite family vacations were in Morro Bay. Since the family owned a vacation home in Cambria, she escaped to plot her next career move.

Sweet Offerings of Cambria at 4070 Burton Drive was for sale. While teaching in Bakersfield, Lewis dabbled in a home-based candy-making business.

Learning the art of making chocolate appealed to her. Encouraged to partner with her dad, they bought the business in 2009 and she  taught herself on the job to make chocolate that “has a shiny look and snaps, which means it is tempered perfectly.”

She also discovered Erika, “the Fudge Lady,” who has been making creamy fudge for 13 years in a variety of flavors.

Cambria’s Sweet Offerings was booming. They needed more cooking room. Jan Lewis had long hoped to settle in Morro Bay. When the space near the Bay 

Theatre came up for sale, she jumped at the opportunity. She also negotiated an exclusive agreement to serve Doc Burnstein’s Ice Cream in Morro Bay.

“I knew I would own a small business someday, but never thought a candy store,” Lewis said. “As a teacher, I was giving knowledge. Now I’m learning my wildest dreams. Chocolate has a life, and I’m still learning. I’ve purchased a home in Morro Bay and look forward to becoming part of the community.”

With Halloween and Thanksgiving coming up, Sweet Offerings has pumpkin pie ice cream and candy corn fudge in the store. Lewis also ships orders internationally. And with the larger kitchen, she can finally offer Jan’s Chocolates for holiday gift giving.

Judy Salamacha’s column is special to The Tribune. Reach her at judysalamacha@gmail.com or 801-1422.

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