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Case Study

A New Approach Reaps Greater Financial Rewards

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How Shifting Focus Elevated A Business And Grew Fudge Dollar Sales Tenfold

The Need

Red Apple FarmRed Apple Farm has been a staple for New Englanders since 1912. Located in Phillipston, MA, this scenic farmstead has been owned and tended by the Rose family for four generations. The original business involved wholesaling apples to various supermarkets and distributors.

As times changed, the Roses transformed their business model to ensure the farm would continue to flourish for future generations. They made drastic modifications, including cutting down half of their apple trees to allow for business diversification. Now, at its core, Red Apple Farm provides an authentic family farm experience, offering a pick-your-own orchard (apples, blueberries, pumpkins), hayrides, an 18th century farmhouse, a country store and brew barn.

A Surprising Top Seller

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.

Little did they know they were missing out on a significantly larger opportunity – to reinforce their “authentic” identify and to generate significantly more dollar profits. The combination of beginning to experience challenges getting their fudge supply from the wholesaler and hearing other retail-farming business owners suggest multiple times over the years that they should make their own fudge, led the Roses to investigate a new approach to their fudge business.

“Going From Having A Little Dome With Six Different Flavors, We Ended Up With An 8-Foot Counter With 18 Flavors And All Of These Colors And A Dynamic Display. It Just Grew Exponentially At That Point.”

Nancy Rose, Owner
“We could’ve gone into the program and bought the new kettle, but I think they understood that was an obstacle for us at that point. Just the support of giving us a contact and saying to go talk to this guy because he’s selling his business. There was no pressure and we felt very supported right from the beginning.”
 

-Nancy Rose, Owner

The Solution

Based on many peer recommendations that Calico Cottage was the best in the business, the Roses visited Calico’s booth at a trade show to learn about the fudge program.

They sampled the product and recognized it was the best quality they had tasted. During the conversation, they immediately saw their needs were put before the company’s. The Calico team was accommodating and went out of their way to find solutions to help them get started, even locating a used kettle for them.

The Roses felt that Calico’s core values aligned with theirs about putting the customer first. It wasn’t difficult for them to select Calico as their partner.

Calico Provided

  • Guidance on display structure and positioning as they were setting up their fudge business
  • Training on fudge manufacturing, flavor assortment, staffing needs, on-site selling and merchandising
  • The 8-foot fudge display, with an open-back sneeze guard allowing them to feature 18 flavors
  • Full guidance on offering free samples to all guests reinforcing the down-home warmth of the farm

The team was prepared to offer samples to all the guests coming into the store, reinforcing the down-home warmth of the farm. Now Red Apple Farms was ready to present fudge in a new way to their customers.

The Results:

1000%
CUSTOMER
GROWTH

65%+
DOLLAR
MARGIN

$175K
ANNUAL
SALES

Their fudge business grew 1,000% since the switch. “We went from struggling to purchase one kettle and saying, ‘Wow. It’s a big investment.’ Now we have three!” explained Al Rose. “It’s amazing how the business has grown for us.”

The business was so successful, that the Roses expanded their distribution of fudge to two additional locations that represent the heart and soul of their farm. Today, dollar sales exceed $175,000 per year.

Consumers Love It, Too

  • Perfect Fall in New England attraction. …The apple crisp was delicious and warm and YUM….the fudge in the store was fresh and very tasty and the very best part of everything we ate
  • Something for Everyone. This is one of our most favorite spots… Sometimes we simply swing by to feed the animals and grab some fudge
  • RED APPLE FARM is a DESTINATION…. HAPPY PLACE TO BRING THE KIDS!!! Always a great place to visit! Apples of many varieties, great fudge, homemade cider donuts, pies, cider, anything that tastes YUMMY!…You will not be disappointed!.

Source: Trip Advisor