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Case Study

Regional Candy Store Chain Wins with Outstanding Customer Service and Better Products

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Exceptional Service And Superior Product Quality Fueled Growth From One Store To A Seven-Store Chain

The Need

Chocolate MonkeyChocolate Monkey, a regional candy store chain, opened their first store in 2009.

Their vision was to offer the highest quality products along with the best customer service anywhere to achieve success and stand out in a crowded field. Within eight years, they built up their business into a chain of seven candy stores spread across the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee. Their branded product line included chocolates and large caramel apples. Although they were happy that the products they sold met their vision and quality standards, they wanted to further diversify their product line.

A Common Craving

As farm business owners, the Roses’ plate was more than full. They didn’t focus their attention on certain parts of the business that, generation after generation, seemed to be working just fine. One of those areas was the fudge sold in their store. The Roses were happy enough with their fudge sales from the six flavors they were buying wholesale and displaying pre-cut under domes.

Very early on when Chocolate Monkey had only one location, customers came into their store asking if they carried fudge. The owners were completely unfamiliar with fudge. As the request became more and more frequent, they decided to investigate the business of fudge and began researching options. During the investigation, they learned that fudge was a product that would be best to make fresh on-site. This seemed like a significant undertaking since they had absolutely no background with fudge and didn’t know what high-quality fudge should be.

“The One Thing That We’ve Noticed Is that Whenever We Build A New Store, The Layout Is Positioned Around Fudge. As People Come In The Door, You Want The Fudge Facing Them.”

Steve Branham, Owner
A crowd of customers surrounds a fudge display case

The Solution

The owners attended trade shows and spoke with other business owners in search of a company to work with in the fudge business.

Based on many taste tests, Calico Cottage’s fudge was the only product that met their quality standards.

Their decision to work with Calico was made even easier when they saw how Calico Cottage operated with the same philosophy and exceptional level of customer service as theirs.

Calico Provided

  • A team sent to the store to train their staff on how to manufacture product.
  • Training on how to merchandise, promote and sell the fudge.
  • Validation on how thorough Calico is on their knowledge in the industry and on the level of support they would provide on an ongoing basis.

The Results:

1000%
CUSTOMER
GROWTH

7 NEW
STORES
IN 8 YEARS

50%
FUDGE
MARGIN**

Fudge became a critical dollar revenue and margin generator for the store.

Very quickly, it represented 1/3 of the sales and paved they way for the Chocolate Monkey to expand into more locations.

Beyond The Financial Benefit, The Fudge Business Brings Their Core Value Of Customer Service To Life.

  • It gives their employees an opportunity to start a conversation with the store’s customers.
  • Those making fudge express their creativity through the creation of locally relevant fudge flavors, making their jobs more rewarding.
  • Making and selling fudge adds to the fun of working in the store.

When asked if he would ever switch from Calico to another company, Steve says, “I don’t foresee that’s ever going to change…We built our company around better customer service and better products. And we’re just not going to find better than Calico. So that’s pretty simple.”


*In retail.
**Annual fudge retail margin.