We always wanted to put in the Calico Fudge Retailing Program but we didn't have room to make fudge. About three years ago, we went out of the apple cider business. So, we remodeled our back room and put in an area for fudge.
Our local sales rep got us set up and came down and trained us.
Fudge was a hit from day one. Within two weeks, we were shopping for a second kettle. We actually just bought a third kettle. I don't know that we'll use it on a daily basis, but we certainly need to have it in case one kettle goes down.
We're quite isolated -- an hour and a half from Tucson. We're a destination and people come a long way to get here. We're a little farm in the middle of nowhere, but we sell a lot of fudge. Our sales volume was up considerably this year from last year, and last year was up from the first year. We are very well-known for our apple bread throughout Arizona and this year, in dollars, we actually sold more fudge than we did apple bread. The fudge business is very profitable.
It's really the cut fudge that is the mainstay of our business. The second year, we started pre-cutting all of the fudge into quarter pound pieces and we sell it by the piece now, instead of by the pound. It's the only way that we can keep up with the demand.
We don't make fudge on the weekends since we just don't have enough room or staff. On weekdays, when we are making fudge, customers just love to walk into the back room to see the kettles and smell the aroma of the fudge. We have two cashiers at the fudge counter and two people to put fudge in boxes. Customers love to look at all the flavors. Our bestselling fudge flavors are Chocolate, Chocolate Walnut and Chocolate Pecan.
We have signs that promote the upsell, but we still verbally tell people that we have a special today -- if you buy four pieces, you get two pieces free. A good percentage of the people upgrade to that.
Our customers love our fudge. It's funny, but they think that we're the only ones who make this fudge. They really think that they have to come to our orchard to get our fudge.