Posts Tagged ‘candy.com’

Candy lovers are a passionate bunch. We’re big on learning about candy and the stories behind the brands. We love to talk about the sweet stuff, consume it, and share it. (Heck, if that weren’t true, Candy.com wouldn’t have 55,000+ Facebook Fans.)

So, periodically in this blog, I’m going to put a spotlight on a select candy manufacturer to give you the who behind some of your favorite brands as well as brands you might not know about … yet.

The first who in my “Meet the Candy Makers” series is the Kimmie Candy Company.

This candy maker fascinates me for a handful of reasons:

- It’s only 10 years old, which is young for the majorly mature candy industry.

- Kimmie Candy’s founder, Joe Dutra, is an international agronomist who grew up in a farming family in California. At one point in his own farming career, Joe farmed for a prince in Saudi Arabia.

- Kimmie Candy is one of a few US companies to manufacture overseas and then move all operations to US soil. Kimmie Candy products were manufactured in Korea until 2008 when Joe opened headquarters in Reno, Nevada.

- The company is named after a family friend who offhandedly said the company should be named after her. And so it was.

You may be wondering how this US candy company got its start in Korea. It was actually a bit of a fluke. One of Joe Dutra’s employees at the time told him about a container full of chocolate-covered sunflower kernels from Korea that was left at a San Francisco dock. Looking to diversify, Joe purchased the container.

That container led to more. Joe was sending U.S. sunflower seeds to Korea for candy coating, which were then shipped back to California for packaging.

Then, Sept. 11 hit, which was a major turning point for the candy company. “I became patriotic,” says Joe. “I was living in a community, but I wasn’t bringing anything back to it.”

After several business hiccups, including a lawsuit from Mars, Joe convinced his Korean panner (a confectioner who applies a candy shell to candy and nuts) to move to America and purchase equipment for US production in Reno, Nevada.

With all operations now in Reno, Joe says he’s expecting 30% to 40% growth by year end.

“We really are living the American Dream,” says Joe, who has welcomed his own two grown children into the Kimmie Candy Company. “It’s a pleasure to come to work everyday.”

The Goods
Kimmie Candy’s line of panned candy products includes three brands: Choco Rocks, Sunbursts, and Kettle Corn Nuggets, as well as  Jordan almonds. (Click on each image below for detailed product information.)

According to Mark Bedingfield, Kimmie Candy’s sales director, the Choco Rocks are currently the company’s best seller. Mark says the gold, silver, and bronze Choco Rocks Boulders and Choco Rocks Nuggets are getting quite a bit of attention from candy retailers and party planners.

It’s easy to see why. The large chunks of composite milk and dark chocolate coated in edible metallic glitters are pure eye candy in glass containers.

Gold Choco Boulders

Kimmie’s candy-coated sunflower kernels, Sunbursts, have also caught the eye of party planners, retailers, and bakers because they’re available in 18 solo colors plus an all-natural mix and several holiday mixes. The glossy Sunbursts’ little seed shape lends itself to cake and cupcake decorating and mixing with other panned candies like Kimmie’s Kettle Corn Nuggets and Jordan Almonds.

Sunbursts Natural Mix

The Kettle Corn Nuggets (roasted corn nuggets coated in milk chocolate with a colorful candy shell) is the newest product in Kimmie’s lineup, and, like all Kimmie products, is available in holiday colors and mixes.

Kettle Corn Nuggets Christmas Mix

Sunbursts Hanukkah Mix

Choco Rocks Black Coal

Red Jordan Almonds

DeliciousStumbleUponFacebookTwitter
Read more

Print Cates, director of franchise operations at California-based Powell’s Sweet Shoppe, is one lucky guy.

Print travels the world to scout out the latest and greatest candy for all 17 Powell’s Sweet Shoppe locations (plus a new store opening Nov. 17, 2010, in Berkeley, Calif., … but more on that below).

Print also works with each new Powell’s Sweet Shoppe owner to create a unique store theme through lighting, design, signage, display fixtures, and props. Each store is truly a work of art.

In between buying trips and getting ready for the Berkeley store launch, the mah-jorly fun and creative Print Cates took time out to chat with Candy.com about his enviable job, candy trends, the new store opening, and what’s next for Powell’s.

Candy.com: Heard you shared what it’s like to be a professional candy buyer at the 2010 Kid’s Candy Choice Awards sponsored by ECRM and Retail Confectioner magazine. What was the response from the small fries?

Print Cates: All ears were on deck when they learned how to be a candy buyer: the technique, and the end result—actually choosing the items. The kids had to choose items for other people to purchase in their “mock” stores and they quickly realized that they had to think about what candies other people liked, not just what they liked.


Candy.com
: So which candies won top honors at the 2010 Kid’s Candy Choice Awards?

Print Cates:
The first place award went to Farley’s and Sathers Candy Co, Inc. for its Trolli brand “Big Bold Bears” gummy candy. Coming in second was Schuster Products with its “Ginormous Silly Swirl” bubble gum, and Innovative Candy Concepts took third with “Too Tarts Smart Choice All Kidz Blend.”

Candy.com: I know Powell’s Sweet Shoppe has grand store openings. What do you have up your sleeve for the Nov. 17 soft opening and Nov. 20 official opening of the Berkeley, Calif., store?

Print Cates: On the soft opening date, five lucky children get to come in for a private shopping experience 31 minutes before the doors open. It will be very Wonka-esque. Then, when the doors open, our friends, family, and business associates get to come in and see the store. The grand opening is another story. We have a magician, clown, balloon maker, band, a Wonka character, a Moon Pie character, a Jelly Belly character, and so much more in store. Television, radio, and newspaper press will be there. It is going to be quite a show!

Inside Powell's Sweet Shoppe in Laguna Niguel, Calif.

At the Chico, Calif., store, customers select gum from the "Gum Card Catalogue."


Candy.com
: You travel the world to scout candy for Powell’s Sweet Shoppes. Any new products or trends that have stopped you in your tracks lately?

Print Cates:
Edible Gummy Bandz (like the rubber “Silly Bandz” that kids wear on their wrists) are extremely popular as well as Candy Blood from an IV bag. Disgusting and fun. Vampires have to eat too!

Candy.com: What’s the No. 1 selling candy item across all of your stores?

Print Cates:
Other than [the original] Wonka Bars (so very sad they are discontinued), our No. 1 candy item in our stores is ZOTZ.  ZOTZ is consistently in the top five throughout the year.

Candy.com: Does the list of top 10 candy brands vary much from store to store?

Print Cates: Not Really. Tried-and-true items are tried-and-true items. You might have a spike if a new item comes into the market, but the business always revolves around the basics. Just like the grocery store, we have our items that are like milk, bread, meat, vegetables, and eggs.


Candy.com:
Of the four major candy seasons (Halloween, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Easter), which one brings in the most customers at Powell’s Sweet Shoppes?

Print Cates:
Actually, we have 5 seasons:) Our fifth is season is summer. Definitely, summer season brings in the most customers, but if I had to say the one specific “holiday” season that is our strongest, it’s Christmas. We are known for the place to be for stocking stuffers! Our main merchandising and look of the stores follow all of the five seasons.


Candy.com:
You are a retail merchandising crackerjack forever coming up with clever ways to showcase and sell candy in your stores. The last time we talked, you were freezing Queen Anne Cordial Cherries in gelato cases for summertime treats. Any out-there merchandising tactics you’ve come up with lately?

Print Cates: I am loving mannequins! They are so fun and can be dressed to match the season or theme that you are creating. There is so much you can do using the packaging that the manufacturers have created. Turning cardboard into “clothing” is just another level. And it’s  free!

Mannequin decked out in Sugar Daddy gear at the Powell's Sweet Shoppe in Laguna Niguel, Calif.

Candy.com: Last time we talked, you mentioned a proprietary gelato that Powell’s created with the Annabelle Candy Company (makers of Abba-Zaba, Rocky Road, Big Hunk, U-No, and Look! bars). What’s the scoop?

Print Cates: We have liaised with Annabelle to create an Abba-Zaba and a Rocky Road gelato about 10 months ago and both flavors have been a great success. We are the only retailer with these co-branded items. Powell’s is always looking for opportunities to work with manufacturers to come up with unique items for our stores to carry.


Candy.com:
It’s great to see candy buffets popping up at most every event these days. Are any of your store owners offering candy buffet catering services?

Print Cates
: We have several stores that are having fun doing candy buffets. They are a unique, fun, interactive item to have at any celebration. The stores are currently doing these in test mode, which we are evaluating and then we’ll see how we can roll these out franchise-wide. By understanding the process, we can then make it easier for the franchisee and customer to have a wonderful experience.

Candy buffet table created by Powell's Sweet Shoppe in Long Beach, Calif.

Candy.com: Powell’s Sweet Shoppes are currently all on the West Coast. Any plans to expand domestically and/or internationally?

Print Cates: We are exploring all opportunities and during this process we are in a franchise holding pattern only opening the Berkeley store in the near future. All parties that are interested are put on a waiting list and then will be reviewed when we open sales again. The list is VERY long.

DeliciousStumbleUponFacebookTwitter
Read more

My grandmother, like most, had a candy dish sitting in her “front room” (a.k.a. the least lived-in room). I don’t recall ever wanting any of the candies she put in her candy dish. Maybe it’s because they were dusty and not M&M’s, but I can’t remember, exactly.

Even so, I still have a thing for the old-fashioned candy dish. I’d love to have one today in my “family room” (a.k.a. the room with the couch my kids use as a launching pad) filled with Peanut Butter M&M’s, Nerds, or Crazy Core Skittles.

I know I’m not alone in this dish nostalgia. Former lawyer and Harvard grad, Maggie Wickes moved West and launched her Colorado-based Bluebird Candy Dish Co. this time last year out of concern for the extinction of the vintage candy dish. All of the dishes in Maggie’s collection are new and many of the vintage-inspired candy dish options incorporate classic glassware patterns.

My two favorites at Bluebird:

I also found some pretty terrific candy dishes at Etsy.com—all of which could double as heartfelt holiday gifts filled with vibrant holiday candies. (Click on each photo below for product info.)


Here’s an additional gem from 1StopRetroShop.com


Do you have fond memories of your grandmother’s candy dish?

DeliciousStumbleUponFacebookTwitter
Read more

Taste

Aroma

Appearance

Price


We got a great response on this week’s “What’s your favorite theater candy” contest. I think you might be a little surprised to see which ones made the top 10.

Here goes:

No. 1 favorite candy at the movies: Milk Duds (duh.)

No. 2 Raisinettes

No. 3 Sno-Caps

No. 4Twizzlers

No. 5. Peanut M&M’s

No. 6 Junior Mints

No. 7 Goobers

No. 8 Whoppers

No. 9 Reese’s Pieces

No. 10 Cookie Dough Bites, Sugar Babies (tie)

Classic theater candies Dots, Gobstoppers, and Good & Plenty each only got one vote. Where’s the love??

Thanks all for playing this week! The winner is Jennifer Padgett, who Tweeted that her favorite movie theater candy is Peanut M&M’s. Please do follow us on Twitter if you’re not already a follower. We’d love to have you on board!

DeliciousStumbleUponFacebookTwitter
Read more