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Angie Wieck, Published November 18 2012

It's My Job: A Sweet Dream come true

FARGO – Owning Sweet Dreams Confections is a dream come true for Lee Paseka.

As a child, his grand-father would give him a quarter to spend on candy at the general store in Georgetown, Minn. It was after one such visit that Paseka declared, “Someday, Grandpa, I’m going to have a store like this.”

That day came in 2006, when he opened Sweet Dreams Confections in south Fargo’s Village West Shopping Center with his wife, Brenda. Before that, the couple owned and operated Lee’s Floral, Party Place and Fudge Factory in north Fargo for more than 28 years.

Sweet Dreams Confections sells a wide variety of sweets, bulk candy, gelato, gourmet food and gifts, including Pride of Dakota merchandise.

Q. What is a typical day like for you?

It begins at 5 a.m. getting the coffee, cookies, bars and breads ready for the coffee shop. After that, we start lining things up for our soup and sandwich lunch and take inventory in order to decide what we’re going to make for chocolates, fudge and gelatos for the day. Then the store opens, and we’re ready to take people’s orders.

Do you make all of the sweets here?

Everything made fresh in the store is made by my wife, Brenda, and I. It truly is a mom-and-pop operation. Some of the goodies we make year-round are homemade fudge, hand-dipped truffles, chocolate-covered cherries and turtles. Over the holidays, my wife also makes lefse and rosettes.

What is your favorite sweet?

Anything that starts with the letter “C.” I am a non-recovering chocoholic.

What should shoppers know about your gelato?

Gelato is similar to ice cream in that it is milk-based. Sorbetto is water-based and mixed with fruit. Both have fewer calories than traditional ice cream. We sell 25 different flavors of the two each day.

We purchase mixes from a factory in Milan, Italy, and combine those with fresh ingredients here in the store. About twice a year, we get a visit from the factory’s gelato master who comes to keep me trained on the facets of making gelato. For me, a hot fudge sundae has no flavor compared to gelato. Of 100 people who try it, 98 of them will love it.

What do you like best about your job?

I like to feel like I’ve made a difference helping people. I had that same feeling when I owned Lee’s Floral.

When customers walk in the door, the first thing I say is, “Greetings, and welcome to Sweet Dreams,” and then I ask them if it’s their first visit to the store. My favorite thing to hear people say is “My sister said I should stop here” or “My friend said I should stop here.” It means that people were excited enough to tell someone they had fun here.

I think we’ve lost so much of that with the nature of box stores and discount stores. You go to shop, and you don’t feel anything. If you come here, you actually have a good time.

Sweet dreams confections

Where: 4101 13th Ave. S. No. 1000, Fargo

Hours: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday; 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday; and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Lunch is served from 11 a.m.

to 2 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Angie Wieck at (701) 241-5501