It all started with a mermaid tail.

All Evelyn Mock wanted was a mermaid tail to swim in and to get it she had to save the money to buy it. Her father, Mark Mock, told her to come up with an idea and he would help make it happen.

Evelyn, 7, took a couple months to think about it and finally decided she wanted to sell candy.

"I wanted more money and more money,” Evelyn said. “So then I asked my dad what can make me more money, more money."

By the time Evelyn settled for candy machines, she celebrated her seventh birthday and got a mermaid tail. The goal changed, but she still wanted to make money.

"I wanted to try something new cause I haven’t actually done a business before,” she said. “All I do is school and chores and clean my room mostly."

Mark went onto Craigslist, an online sales website, and found a three-chamber yellow candy machine.

He said it was listed at $70, which Evelyn could afford with her birthday money, but Mark wanted to teach her about business.

Negotiation was the first lesson.

"When it came time, I didn’t handle the transaction at all," Mark said. "That sweet old man had no chance. She just batted her pretty eyes and said 'what's the lowest price you can go.'"

That was $40.

"That was just a proud moment," Mark remembered.

With the remaining money, Evelyn bought her favorite candy to stock the machine: M&Ms, Skittles and Jelly Beans.

"I didn’t think it would take off, Mark said. “It was just an idea that I wanted to support her in."

Now that the machine was cleaned and stocked, Evelyn needed to find a place to put her new business.

Mark posted about Evelyn’s Candy Shop on Facebook and several Midlothian business owners responded. He then taught his daughter how to pitch her business.

She hooked a business after her first pitch.

On March 1, Evelyn moved her candy machine to Midlothian Self Storage. The yellow machine sits next to the front door with a sign “Evelyn’s Candy Shop” hanging on the wall behind it.

“She’s quite a little entrepreneur,” Midlothian Self Storage owner Gary Roark said.

He worked in sales for years, and he said Evelyn did everything right when it came to the pitch.

“People come in just for the candy,” he added.

Evelyn is the middle of five girls, and her sisters want to be a part of the business.

"One sister wants to work with me and I'm like no," Evelyn said.

If not as a part owner, they at least want to test Evelyn’s products.

"Well, they want free candy," she added, but she isn’t budging. "Why would I give my sisters free money."

At 7, Mark is impressed with the drive Evelyn has shown.

"I was wondering what ninja turtle I would be when I was 7," he explained

Evelyn is saving money, so she can buy more machines and restock her inventory. After a half day, she earned $4 and hopes that has increased throughout the week.

She said she wants to make $10 and one day own anywhere between 10 and 1,000 machines in Midlothian. She already has several business owners clamoring to stock one of her machines.

Right now, she is saving money for a new candy machine and already has two piggy banks with “some dollars,” she noted.

"It can be cool. It can be not cool, and for me it was cool," she said. "Just go for it."


Samantha Douty, @SamanthaDouty