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

Ski traffic

News
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
0121-skiway-thumbBY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

A place-based multimodal transportation plan for Mt. Hood is long overdue.


Read more...

Labor Pains

February 2015
Monday, January 26, 2015
BY AMY MILSHTEIN

Thinking about starting an internship program? Be careful. Navigating unpaid internships can be tricky.


Read more...

Convention Wisdom

February 2015
Monday, January 26, 2015
BY KIM MOORE

After more than a decade of wrangling, construction on a convention center hotel in Portland is slated to start this summer. But debate over project financing continues.


Read more...

Light Moves

February 2015
Monday, January 26, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER

Fittingly, Light at Play — a business whose sole purpose is to create mesmerizing ambience — was conceived at Burning Man.


Read more...

Corner Office: Pam Edstrom

January-Powerbook 2015
Saturday, December 13, 2014

Seven tidbits of information from an agency partner and co-founder of Waggener Edstrom in Lake Oswego.


Read more...

4 married couples who work together

The Latest
Thursday, January 22, 2015
IMG 0020BY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

They say maintaining a healthy marriage takes work. So does running a business with your spouse.


Read more...

LEED for weed

News
Wednesday, January 28, 2015
012815-potcarbon-thumbBY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

What is the impact of the legal pot industry on carbon emissions? An NEBC energy forum breakfast makes the case for taking the new industry’s emissions impacts seriously.


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