Sponsored by Oregon Business

The candy economy is still sweet

| Print |  Email
Friday, May 01, 2009


STATEWIDE Gourmet chocolate lover Ashley Rahll says she always has at least one chocolate bar on hand at home. But a recent trip to Portland chocolate retailer Cacao with friend Adam Morris meant an extra-special splurge on a spicy dark drinking chocolate and single-malt scotch chocolate.

“I’ve definitely had to cut back on chocolate because of the recession,” says the 28-year-old bartender. “But it’s a special treat, and sometimes all you need is a bite.”

Like Rahll, most Oregonians are reining in spending. But many are still willing to devote some of their hard-earned dollars, albeit fewer of them, to buy colorful jelly beans and luxurious truffles.

Oregon retailers point to candy’s affordability and chocolate’s natural mood-boosting qualities as key to their continued success. Someone may not be able to afford a vacation or a meal out, but spending $10 on candy can still give you a taste of luxury, says Jess Lobo, Sweets Etc. sales manager.

The holidays appear to be a bright spot for Oregon confectioners, with Portland stores like Sahagún Chocolate Shop and JaCiva’s Bakery & Chocolate reporting strong holiday candy sales over last year. “Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day — people are still going to celebrate these holidays in a recession,” says Sahagún’s owner, Elizabeth Montes. “Chocolate is a fancy, affordable gift.”

Oregon entrepreneurs such as Ashland artists Jean Bakewell and Kay Cutter are using the recession to start their candy empire. The two opened the Recession Candy Co. in January, selling English toffee in their hand-designed “art boxes” with a encouraging note inside: “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” chocolate.jpg
While total retail sales have risen for the $28 billion national confectionary market, which includes gum, chocolate confections and non-chocolate confections, Oregon’s candy retailers anecdotally report flat or only slight growth in sales.

Although local retailers can’t say conclusively why sales aren’t growing as fast as the national trend, several say they notice customers purchasing only one or two of their favorite, pricier candies, where before they would have purchased several.

“Café and Internet sales have remained flat,” says Darin Linnman, company spokesman for Moonstruck Chocolatier. “We have remained fairly consistent, which in and of itself is a success story.”



0 #1 So true...so trueCathy 2009-09-08 16:20:52
I can do without alot, but don't mess with my chocolate. It is a small indulgence that I won't give up. Ashley, you go girl. It's good to know someone else also has a "stash" ready when needed. It's medicinal qualities are remarkable. Hey, it saves a bundle on anti-depressant s.
Quote | Report to administrator

More Articles

Reader Input: School Choice

September 2015
Thursday, August 20, 2015

Which of the following would be most effective in reducing the cost of operating a public university in Oregon?


Inside the Box

September 2015
Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Screening for “culture fit” has become an essential part of the hiring process. But do like-minded employees actually build strong companies — or merely breed consensus culture?


Keep Pendleton Weird

October 2015
Monday, September 28, 2015

Eastern Oregon marketers refocus rural assets through an urban lens.


The God complex

Linda Baker
Wednesday, September 30, 2015
093015-zydellren-thumbBY LINDA BAKER | EDITOR

The media coverage about Pope Francis must have put me in a Biblical frame of mind. Because after touring the latest phase of the South Waterfront development, a mind boggling 1.5 million square feet of office and retail space that will spring up north of the aerial tram over the next few years, I couldn’t stop thinking about the massive project as a modern day creation story.


Have a baby and keep a job? It won’t be easy in Portland

The Latest
Friday, October 02, 2015
100115kimblogthumbBY KIM MOORE

Our intrepid (and expecting) research editor finds the child care search involves long waiting lists, costly fees and no certainty of securing a place before she goes back to work.


Salad Days

October 2015
Monday, September 28, 2015

How Portland's Garden Bar plans to become the Starbucks of salad.


Bendafornia: What’s driving the Northern California migration?

Contributed Blogs
Wednesday, August 05, 2015
bendiforniathumbBY KEN MAES

A huge migration from Northern California has contributed to average 16% growth per year since 1990.

Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02