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Fudge on the fly: WeDo Fudge opens first drive-through fudge stand
Charles and Christina Norman, often referred to as the “fudge guy” and “fudge lady” or “Mr. and Mrs. Fudge” possibly have opened the very first drive-through fudge stand.
Six months ago the Normans bought a used-to-be coffee stand just off Hooker Road near U.S. Highway 101 to use as their commercial kitchen for their business WeDo Fudge. Because the Normans’ primary clientele were wholesalers and they knew didn’t want the commitment of maintaining a storefront, the converted coffee stand worked great for them. That is until people kept driving up wanting to buy coffee not realizing the stand now served as a fudge factory.
“Even though we couldn’t offer them coffee, we could offer them espresso fudge and people would often buy a piece of fudge in lieu of a coffee,” Christina said.
Now, as of May 1, the seemingly first drive-through fudge stand officially opened for business. The stand is open for drive-through customers 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
“I did a lot of research before opening up the drive-through and couldn’t find any other drive-through business anywhere that solely offered fudge,” Charles said.
At first the Normans weren’t sure if producing and selling fudge could be a viable business, but have had remarkable success and the business already is paying for itself just after one year of opening.
The Normans moved to Sequim two years ago after loading up in their motorhome to head west until they settled on a new place to call home. Wherever they ended up the Normans wanted to be involved with the community, thus the challenge became pursuing a business they could own and operate, yet still have plenty of time to volunteer and interact with the community, Christina explained. Since moving to Sequim the Normans are involved with the Rotary Club, Shipley Center, Sequim Food Bank and Seattle Children’s Hospital.
When opening WeDo Fudge, Christina tapped into her past experience gained while working at a friend’s candy shop in Illinois. While Christina makes the fudge, Charles has taken the lead in sales and distribution.
“I have no previous training in sales, but I enjoy talking to people and making relationships,” Charles said.
In addition to the owners, WeDo Fudge has four seasonal employees. Although the business is evenly split between events and fairs with wholesale now, the Normans would like continue to grow their wholesale clientele.
“Right now we’re focused on the Northwest and seem to have found a niche with bookstores and wineries,” Charles said. “We have about 30 wholesale customers outside of the Sequim area including one in Alaska, one in California and one in Oregon.”
Fudge in the making
WeDo Fudge offers more than 200 recipes and has even crafted some local Sequim flavors, such as lavender and espresso created from local Rainshadow Coffee Roasting Company’s products.
WeDo Fudge also offers special seasonal flavors and during the holidays festive boxes filled with fudge, Christina explained. Even with hundreds of recipes to pull from the classic chocolate walnut and dark chocolate sea salt are the two most popular flavors.
In preparation for summer, Christina is perfecting her lavender, raspberry lemonade and strawberry cheesecake recipes.
“Every Tuesday I make about 90 pounds of fudge,” Christina said. “It is fun and definitely one of my creative processes.”
While making the fudge may be the fun and creative part, cutting and individually packaging the fudge can be a challenge, Christina explained. Another challenging aspect of the fudge industry has been creating diabetic safe fudge that also tastes good.
Because Charles is diabetic, the Normans understand the complexity of diabetes and strive to always offer a few different sucrose free options.
Being able to offer people from all walks of life something sweet to eat is one of the most rewarding aspects of the business for the Normans.
“Watching people light up and smile after trying a taste of fudge is so fun,” Christina said.
Inside every package of fudge from WeDo Fudge there’s an inspirational quote on the back of a photograph of the Olympic Mountains in an effort to further “encourage people,” Charles said.
Something else the Normans have discovered through their experience in the fudge industry thus far is that just about everyone has a “fudge story.”
“It is fun hearing the different types of fudge made by various customers’ mothers or grandmothers,” Charles said. “Engaging with the community is what it is all about.”
The Normans explained opening up their kitchen to drive-through customers is just one more way they can continue to interact with the community and hopefully provide a fun service to those in need of a little something sweet for the road.
In celebration of opening the first drive-through fudge stand WeDo Fudge is offering a free piece of chocolate walnut fudge for drive-through customers during May.
For more information on WeDo Fudge visit, www.wedofudge.com or call 360-232-4656.
Reach Alana Linderoth at firstname.lastname@example.org.