A sweet success from Israel
by Jason Cohen
Feb 05, 2014 | 2462 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Nutty and Sweet
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Growing up in Israel, Sheli Man-Steinberg always envisioned immigrating to America.

When she was young, her family lived in the U.S. for two years and again for a year when she was 16. Not only did her brief experiences here attract her to this country, but it was her desire to study sports medicine in college. However, at that time, universities in Israel did not offer that major to students.

When she first brought up the idea of moving to America, her friends, family and fellow soldiers in the Israeli Army thought she was crazy. It was too much of a risk, they told her. But, she was determined, and she relocated in 2001.

Though her English was good, she knew she was taking a big leap of faith.

“I felt it was very tough back home and it would be a nice change,” Man-Steinberg said. “It was not easy to leave, and it was not so easy to be here.”

With an uncle in Baltimore and very little money, she found a room on78th Ave in Queens. It was a huge adjustment being on her own in such a big city, she said. Surprisingly, there wasn’t a big culture shock because everyone was nice and helpful

“When you stop for a minute and you look, everything is so big and you’re so little,” Man-Steinberg said.

She enrolled at Queens College in 2004, where she studied psychology because they did not offer sports medicine. She finished in 2007, and from 2006-2009 she briefly owned a coffee shop.

In 2009, a friend of hers, Jonathan Shamsiev, opened Nutty and Sweet at 181-18 Union Turnpike in Fresh Meadows and wanted her to join him. After taking some medical classes and working at a doctor’s office, she became his partner in 2012.

While she only had a little bit of business experience, she knew her hard work, creativity and friendly personality would help her succeed.

The store was doing well, yet she wanted to improve it. She began making centerpieces filled with candy for bar mitzvahs, Sweet 16s, weddings and many other types of events. Word quickly spread within the community and it became a huge hit. She has made basketballs, carriages, wine glasses, vases and numerous other items all filled with candy.

“You can make anything look a little more than what it is,” Man-Steinberg said. “I feel so much better after they tell me that it was good.”

Knowing the customers on a first-name basis and what they like is nice as well, she said.

“It’s a home away from home,” Man-Steinberg said.

Although she never imagined owning a candy store, she always envisioned herself as a businesswoman. While her parents are still shocked that she moved to America, she doesn’t regret it at all.

She plans to continue her education and either obtain her master’s in sports medicine or finish medical school, but for now is content.

“I find happiness in everything,” Man-Steinberg said. “This kind of work is very therapeutic. It lets out the
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