Home Back Issues May 2009 The candy economy is still sweet

The candy economy is still sweet

| Print |  Email
Archives - May 2009
Friday, May 01, 2009

jellybeans.jpg

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.”

NICOLE STORMBERG
 

Comments   

 
Cathy
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

A Complex Portrait: Immigration, Jobs and the Economy

November/December 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY JOE ROJAS-BURKE & KIM MOORE

Oregon Business reports on the visa squeeze, the skills gap and foreign-born residents who are revitalizing rural Oregon.


Read more...

The Rail Baron

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER

Oil is gushing out of the U.S. and Canada, and much of it is coming from places that don’t have pipeline infrastructure. So it’s being shipped by rail.


Read more...

The 100 Best Companies survey is open

News
Friday, October 24, 2014

100-best-logo-2015 500pxw-1How does your workplace stack up against competitors? How can you improve workplace practices to help recruit and retain employees? Find out by taking our 100 Best Companies to Work for in Oregon survey!


Read more...

Downtime

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
BY JESSICA RIDGWAY

I'm not very interesting,” says a modest Ray Di Carlo, CEO and executive producer of Bent Image Labs, an animation and visual effects studio.


Read more...

Innovation: a critique

News
Wednesday, October 08, 2014
1008 innovation thumbBY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

A Design Week panel discussion raises questions about how innovative we really are.


Read more...

Healthcare Perspective

November/December 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY KIM MOORE

A conversation with Majd El-Azma, president and CEO of LifeWise Health Plan of Oregon, followed by the Healthcare Powerlist.


Read more...

Downtime

November/December 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY JESSICA RIDGWAY

Bob Dethlefs, CEO of Evanta, balances work and play.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS