Baker’s Candies: Putting in the work for holiday treats
LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - We are 41 days away from Christmas and for many businesses that means ramping up production to meet demand.
For one of Nebraska’s biggest chocolate makers, Baker’s Candies, its workers will make more than 150,000 pounds of their chocolate meltaways between the beginning of November to the end of the year.
If you’ve been to their flagship store in Greenwood you’ve probably seen the rows and rows of bags of color-coded candies. But many don’t often see the production side, a labor of love that pumps out those candies just in time for the holidays.
To make the signature sweets the chocolate first starts in the hot room where it’s melted and combined with cocoa butter. From there it’s sent to a production line, where it’s poured, cooled, cut, and covered in even more chocolate before being wrapped.
Monday alone, almost 3,000 pounds were made.
“We’re running these production lines as hard as we possibly can,” said CEO Todd Baker. “Knowing that every single piece of chocolate that we can possibly produce from now through Christmas is already essentially sold.”
The logistics of keeping the chocolate pouring can be anything but sweet. Essentials like sugar, milk and even fuel cost more now.
Sourcing cocoa is also an issue. It can only grow within 10 degrees of the equator, meaning it has to be imported.
“The most difficult part of our job is sourcing ingredients,” Baker said. “We’re about as far from a port as you can possibly get here in Greenwood.”
Still, Baker seems to have the recipe for optimism. The chocolate factory expected to take a big hit during COVID but didn’t. It’s expecting to sell 50 million meltaway candies this year alone.
“In the end, what we found out is that our customers were more than just customers, they were really fans of the products that we make here,” Baker said.
Workers on the retail side said they’ve seen more people coming in earlier than in years past and are expecting the traffic to stay that way through Christmas.
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