GREENWOOD – Todd Baker claims that Bakers Candies really has no idea what they are doing most of the time. The only thing he does know is that the 34-year-old confection company is really good at making chocolate.
“For the most part we keep our head down and we make chocolate and no matter how much we make the amazing thing is that it always seems to disappear,” Baker said.
This past weekend, Sept. 18 through 20, Bakers Candies hosted a buy-one/get-one-half-off sale to celebrate their one year anniversary of the company’s retail store addition as well as a thank you to all its customers for supporting the store through the craziness of 2020, Baker said.
“Our fans have really lifted us up,” Baker said.
Sales don’t happen often at Bakers Candies, Baker said. In fact, this is the first ever sale because much of what they sell is already at sales price due to the fact that what they are selling are throwaways, or seconds as Baker calls them.
The seconds refers to the candy that can’t be sent out to retailers because of being misshapen or not meeting certain guidelines. The store enables the seconds to not go to waste, but to be sold to customers.
Since the new retail store addition opened last Sept. 18, it has had about 350,000 visitors. For the company to be located in Greenwood, a town of 591, and to have such high popularity, Baker felt it was a little crazy.
“It is an unlikely hub for the convection industry,” he said.
Baker also said it is the largest candy retail store in Nebraska’s history coming out at just under 6,000 square feet and that this year the shop is featured on the Nebraska Passport stop list. The store sells over 500 different types of candies, not including what they make in the factory.
Omaha’s Patti Peterson has been coming to Bakers Candies for at least 15 years. Peterson, a lawyer at Kutak Rock LLP in Omaha, purchases from Bakers for the purpose of sending the candies to her clients all over the country.
“Everyone knows when it’s coming from me,” Peterson said.
The factory was first established in 1986 by Baker’s father Kevin Baker, and the previous retail store opened on Valentine’s Day in 1987. Prior to candy making Kevin Baker worked as an engineer with the U.S. Defense Department to create mass amounts of missiles during the Vietnam War.
“After Vietnam wound down and they made enough missiles to blow the world up 1,000 times over, there wasn’t a demand for missiles any longer,” Baker said. “They were looking for a career that might be a little more personally rewarding.”
In the last five years, Baker and his younger brother Paul have started taking over the business. Baker said they have been working to “breathe some new life into the business,” by adding the new outlet last year. They also plan to launch a website later this fall to make the retail store accessible to anyone.
This is all for the next generation of Bakers.
“They literally have learned to walk on the factory floor,” Baker said of his children. “Making candy is all they will have ever known and so they’re all excited to start participating in the business.”
Another aspect of the business that will be passed down to “the little Bakers” will be its customers. On Friday, when Bakers Candies posted about the sale on Facebook, they weren’t expecting the 125,000-plus views on the post.
“It just is a testament to the fact that our customers are more than just customers, they’re fans,” Baker said. “We just feel really humbled and fortunate to be one of those brands that they own. They have taken a simple, simple sale and turned it into a statewide event.”
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