MADE IN THE CAROLINAS

July 07, 2013

TOFFEE MAKER SELLS CANDY LIKE GRANDMA MADE

SPARTANBURG, S.C.-- In a small shop in Spartanburg, Nick Belmont makes almond chocolate toffee—toffee, not taffy. “Toffee is a harder candy. It's mostly sugar and butter,” said Nick of Dottie's Toffee. Making toffee is pretty simple, just mix and heat sugar and butter until it's just right. “Usually it's until it gets to a certain temperature. I've actually gotten to where I just do it by sight,” Nick said. What Nick does next is spread out the toffee as it begins to cool. Then he pours chocolate on the top. “Some people will actually let it harden first and then add chocolate. I usually will put the chocolate on right, you know, quickly or soon after we put the toffee down,” Nick said. Other ingredients in the finished product include sea salt and almonds. The result is Dottie's Toffee and it is sold over the internet and through about 100 retailers across the country. After college, Nick tried working in several areas: building, real estate, and landscaping. He had already made toffee for friends and had even been able to sell some. “It always was in the back of my head. I always thought it was great and then I got a lot of encouragement that it was a special product and we needed to try to sell it,” Nick said. In 2006 Nick and his mother formed the company, making toffee the way Nick's grandmother Dottie made it when he was younger. “When we were smaller we mostly watched and then as we got older, she would help us, or we would help her make the toffee,” Nick said. Although Dottie died a couple of years ago, she was able to see the company that carried her name begin to flourish. “No one was happier about Dottie's Toffee than my grandmother,” Nick said. Dottie was still around when Nick decided to offer dark chocolate. “My grandmother was not happy about it,” Nick said. Nick makes as much as 100 pounds of toffee each day, doing much of the work himself. His aim is to add employees and equipment and maybe even a new product or two going forward. He's already brought in help to develop a new appearance for Dottie's Toffee. “We changed our packaging, our logo, website and now we have this, a completely new look,” Nick said. The basics won't change, however. He will continue to make toffee as much as his grandmother did, and sell that to people with an appreciation for the candy. “Hearing that you, something that you've actually made, that people are enjoying. It's a good feeling.”

By: Richard Green