Atkins Farms Country Market: A customer story

Fudge is the cornerstone of one store’s candy department

Sandy Dise, Atkin's Farms Country Market

Sure Calico fudge is a substantial money-maker for Atkins Farms Country Market. But that’s not what Sandy Dise really likes most about it. For Dise, the main appeal is customers’ reactions.

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“Making people happy is probably my favorite part about selling Calico fudge,” says Dise, who has been with the Amherst, Ma., store for 25 years. “How can you be in a bad mood when you’re buying candy?”

Atkins Farms Country Market started out about 50 years ago as a fruit stand and slowly grew into a specialty foods store. For most of that time, according to Dise, Atkins has sold Calico fudge. “It’s really the cornerstone of our candy department,” says Dise.

Dise especially likes the ability to use Calico’s foolproof ingredients as the basis of the store’s own unique fudge creations. To that end, Dise and her staff have added a variety of ingredients and techniques to produce one-of-a-kind treats. “You’ve got to make the fudge your own,” she says. “You need to make it special.” For best results, she recommends tapping creative employees who will take pride in their creations.

Relying on Sampling and the Upsell

Also important to the store’s success have been two marketing tactics recommended by Calico. One is offering free samples to every customer. “No one eats candy every day,” she says. “By sampling, it means they remember your fudge.”

The other is offering two free pounds of fudge for every four pounds customers buy. That’s an idea Dise first questioned, assuming shoppers wouldn’t want to purchase that much fudge. “(Calico) said, they will,” she says. Sure enough, even her regular customers started taking her up on the offer. “Who doesn’t like something free,” she says.

For Dise, Atkins’ long partnership with Calico has been a consistently positive experience. “It enables me to sell a wonderful product and I’m very grateful for their giving me the chance to do that,” she says. “We’re very pleased with them.”

Her advice for other retailers: You can’t go wrong adding fudge to your product mix. Says Dise: “It brings joy to your customers and will bring dollars to your store.”

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    For many retailers, fudge is more than a popular item for sale. It’s the lion’s share of profits, too. At Kittery Trading Post, for example, fudge accounts for about $250,000 in revenue and sells at a 60% gross profit margin. According to a Kittery Trading Post executive, that’s especially outstanding when compared to all other products, which have a 35% to 38% margin. What’s more, fudge produces the highest dollar per square foot of any item in the store.