Franklin’s General Store: A customer story

Fudge is a money-maker for this country store

Jim Holley, Franklin's General Store

At Franklin’s General Store in Mystic, CT., Calico fudge is a high-margin best-seller that boosts overall sales, as well. “If we didn’t have that fudge counter, our business would be half of what it is today,” says Jim Holley, who owns the store with his wife.

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The Holleys grew up together in Mystic and always wanted to own and run a traditional country store in the town. When they heard that Frank Davis, the original owner of Franklin’s, was looking to sell the establishment, they realized they’d found the perfect answer. As it happened, Davis had introduced Calico fudge many years before—and the Holleys immediately recognized what a profitable money maker it was. “We inherited this great fudge business that (Davis) had put together,” says Holley.

An Irresistible and Profitable Treat

According to Holley, it’s the irresistible aroma coming from the fudge kettles that initially draws customers to the counter. And almost everyone--even people who say they don’t like sweets--ends up taking a taste. Of those, about 70% buy fudge.

But, perhaps most important, is how fudge spurs customers to make unplanned purchases, which account for a significant portion of overall sales. “Fudge is the perfect vehicle for impulse buying,” says Holley. “It puts them in the mood to buy other things in our store.”

The result: Fudge accounts for about $320,000 of the store’s $1 million in revenues, with a profit margin of about 70%.

Ultimately, Holley credits the consistently high quality of Calico’s ingredients for his results. “It’s impeccable,” he says. “I’ve had other fudge vendors approach me and we’ve turned them down.” His advice for retailers looking for ways to grow their business: “Selling Calico fudge is the right thing to do.”

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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.