We had the good fortune of connecting with Vivek Patel and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Vivek, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
Achieving work-life balance as a small business owner is a complex dance. Just as passive income remains more of a concept than a reality, the focus required in entrepreneurship demands consistent effort day in and day out. While I hold the belief that balance can be attained in the long run, on a micro basis, one aspect often tugs more urgently than the other.

I’ve learned that the key to my version of “balance,” particularly with a family at home and multiple storefronts in different time zones lies in flexibility, adaptability, and trust in my team. These principles not only foster balance but also cultivate a growth mindset.

Intentionality plays a crucial role as well in a true balance. Rather than merely observing my eldest play soccer, I actively engage by coaching his team. During his swimming lessons, I devote that time to both watching him and teaching my youngest from the kiddie pool. This intentional involvement extends to my business endeavors as well. By immersing myself in every task and shift, I gain a deep understanding of my team’s challenges and foster empathy.

In the early stages, the scales tipped heavily toward the business, I leaned heavily on my support system of my wife and family, but as our business processes and teams matured, I’ve been able to gradually shift the balance towards my family while reaping the rewards of our initial efforts.

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What should our readers know about your business?
Sugarphoria is a family-owned and operated self-serve candy retail business located in some of the largest airports in the country, including Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport and Denver International Airport. What sets us apart is our elevated brand concept, which contrasts with traditional, overly childish, and sensory-overloading brands that many adults find unappealing. We were also early adopters of modern point-of-sale hardware, enabling contactless payments.

One of our biggest challenges was entering the highly competitive airport retail space, especially in the specialty candy sector. Competing with industry giants like Hudson and HMS Host made it difficult for small family businesses like ours to gain a foothold. However, our persistence, confidence in our team and brand, and eagerness to compete helped us stand out to airport authorities.

The gap in small local business ownership at airports has been recognized industry-wide, and many airports are now creating opportunities for small, motivated businesses. Recently, I was accepted into Denver International Airport’s small business development program, where we currently have two locations. The objective of this program is to level the playing field and provide small businesses with the knowledge, network, and know-how to succeed in the airport environment. While this space is demanding, it is also very fulfilling. It is so competitive that it raises our awareness and as a small business we are able to easily implement new processes and business scheme to stay relevant in the space.

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If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I love showing everything that Dallas to offer. I believe the metro’s identity has something for everyone. Most importantly I think having them enjoy the unique food offerings that makes Dallas so Texas like Tex-mex and BBQ. I have taken families to the Klyde Warren Park and then a BBQ dinner at Pecan Lodge in Deep Ellum. We then go to Greenville Ave for some delicious donuts filled with ice cream at Milk Cream. For tex mex, there is nothing better than quesadillas at Chilango’s. Dallas also always has sports going on whether its professional sports or minor league teams like the Frisco RoughRiders. We’re grateful to be surrounding so many local businesses and offerings.

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Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
At Sugarphoria, we’re more than just a candy retail business – we’re a family legacy that’s been sweetening lives for 25 years. Today, I want to take a moment to honor those family members who laid the foundation before me and shoutout the generations of family entrepreneurs who will follow in our footsteps.

Running a business isn’t a solo journey; it’s a team effort fueled by the love and support of those closest to us. My family has always been there in this partnership, but let’s be real – working with family has its highs and lows. We’ve had our fair share of tough talks and unforgettable moments that have shaped us.

Through it all, I’m incredibly grateful for their guidance, encouragement, and the trust they’ve placed in me. They’ve been more than just mentors; they’ve been my partners in this crazy adventure called life and business.

Website: https://sugarphoria.com

Instagram: sugarphoria

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Image Credits
Photos by Heather Hall Photography LLC

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