When the clock hits 1:15 p.m., the Leaf Raker cafe descends into chaos with a queue of students rushing to get their “meal replacement” of a cheeseburger or a quesadilla.Through all the hubbub, a voice rings out from behind the counter, calling students’ names as their food is ready.
That voice is often the one of Candace Sheley — or, as she’s known to many on campus, Candy.
“I started working here three years ago,” Sheley says. “I was a stay-at-home mom, and then … I got bored! So I started here.”
Seniors may remember when Sheley worked at Westlawn Dining Hall, where she started upon coming to Goshen before moving over to the Leaf Raker.
“I like cooking, and I like baking,” Sheley says. “That was really fun in the bakery [at Westlawn]. I was able to do different creations; we had the Harry Potter day, or Fat Tuesday.”
The Fat Tuesday tradition at Westlawn has continued, and Sheley describes how she “hid a baby in the Bundt cake,” a classic Mardi Gras tradition.
“Coming up with new desserts was always fun,” she says. “I would ask the kids, ‘Hey, what kind of desserts do you want?’ And then I would come out with that dessert. You can kind of be creative in your own way.”
Since moving to the Leaf Raker a few years ago, Sheley hasn’t been able to do as much baking. Instead, she has found different ways to be creative at her new post.
One of Sheley’s favorite things about working at the Leaf Raker is making Starbucks coffee drinks. “[Customers] come in and say, ‘Can you make this? Can you make that?’ And it’s fun having that little challenge.”
Although many students’ minds jump to Java Junction when it comes to finding coffee on campus, the Leaf Raker’s Starbucks offerings are giving the Connector coffee shop a run for its money.
Java has the “drink of the week,” but Sheley says the Leaf Raker is planning on creating a “drink of the day.”
“We’re hopefully going to start an Instagram for the Leaf Raker, and then, once a day, we’ll come up with a drink for the drink of the day.”
Does she want to create a competition with Java? “As long as it’s healthy … but that’s great business for both groups. You have the drink of the week, this group has the drink of the day — okay, which do you want? And both sides will make money either way.”
But while she enjoys creating new dishes and drinks, her favorite part of her job is simple: “The kids.”
“The kids I work with make my day every day,” she says. “Then you guys [Goshen College students] come in and make my day, too.”
Sheley leaves work at 2:30 p.m. every day to pick up her own children and take them to “soccer, volleyball, softball, and then go home and do the usual: laundry, more cooking, [et cetera].” But if you visit before she leaves, it might be worth asking for a specialty drink or a customized menu item.
“I’m always here,” she says. “I start at 6:30, Monday to Friday.”
If a student is stopping by to visit Candy, what should they order?
“I like to make a pulled pork quesadilla,” she says, “swapping out the chicken for pork.”
Students beware, it’s not always available for a meal swipe, but according to Sheley, it’s well worth the Munch Money.
An unspoken rule of campus: if Candy says it’s good, it’s a must-order.
“Just not with sour cream and salsa,” she warns, chuckling. “Barbeque sauce only.”