From Basement to Industrial Park

A Fudge Company has grown increasingly successful using a growth strategy implemented by a son of the founder. This is a uniquely American story where the father starts a business in a basement, sends his sons to Ivy League schools and they come home to work in the family business. The older of the two returned first and found the company with four employees and financially struggling.

He put his MBA and family training to work. Today, the company is working out of a sprawling campus-like factory and supplying the great majority of the retail fudge marketplace with a host of products and services: dry ingredients, equipment, training, and the finished product. Their customers range from mom-and-pop tourist gift shops to fairs/ festivals. Employees rarely leave for other jobs.

Are We Doing the Most We Can?

The CEO is a proactive businessman and always looking over his shoulder at what competitors may be offering. Grossman Consulting was hired to determine if / how the operation could be optimized. We conducted an Opportunity Assessment Program, which included several phases of research:

  • Stakeholder Interviews: C-Suite

  • Interviews / Focus groups: Sales Staff

  • Field Trips / In-Depth Interviews: All Retail Channels

  • Segmentation Study: Fudge Consumers

Insight: Primum Non Nocere (First, Do No Harm)

Much of the learning was confirmation of how special fudge is to consumers and how beloved the company is to employees, salespeople, and retailers alike.

To Arms: Support the Retail Customer and Make Friends With the Web
Beyond that, there were both strategic and tactical directives born out of the research program:

  • Optimize support for retailers to get product to consumers: people love fudge, and stores are often overwhelmed by demand in season.

  • Optimize the flavor and recipe varieties available to sales and customers: new ways to eat fudge increases volume.

  • Optimize the company’s web presence: seek out personnel and new ways to drive the company’s message to business-to-business targets; fully utilize the web as well as social media outlets.

It is not possible to itemize results as a direct measure from actions driven by the research program. However, when factoring in all marketing and web activities begun with the Opportunity Assessment and adding them into the CEO’s program since his arrival, sales have tripled in 22 years.

And the company is in a stronger market share position than it’s ever been.