Candy Wrapper: DeLaMare Candy Co.
Not every entrepreneurial endeavor succeeds at the first go. Occasionally, timing or circumstances come into play, disrupting even the best business plans. Take Rick DeLaMare, the man and muscle behind DeLaMare Candy Co.
In 1987 DeLaMare sold his house and car and lived off savings for two years to develop his craft, which revolves around making personalized taffy candies.
Driven by what he perceived as a niche market no one had time for, DeLaMare jumped in with everything he had. Purchasing and restoring some old production equipment was the first step. Then getting it set up and licensed, finding suppliers, developing recipes to cook the candy and finally figuring out how to make detailed designs followed.
That first fall, he worked 18-hour days trying to get everything done by himself. His brothers, Mike and James, soon joined him, and together they refined recipes, built tools and developed ways to accomplish the challenges their customers gave them. The company grew and moved into a bigger facility with a retail store.
In the late 1990’s a new partner became involved. Unfortunately, the alliance took a bad turn, with DeLaMare being forced out of candy manufacturing with a six-year non-compete agreement as well as a pile of debt the partner left.
But some dreams refuse to die. In 2008 DeLaMare asked his wife, Julie, to take another chance on candy and she agreed. After getting all the permits, licenses and inspections necessary, he created a clean room in his garage, filled it with production equipment and started cooking late in December.
Every day DeLaMare makes custom designs for businesses, weddings and other special occasions, whatever the customer wants. With each order, after studying a particular logo or name, he cuts up strips of candy. Bending, shaping, and wrapping the pieces of candy together, DeLaMare builds the letters one by one. Then he puts them all together and when he cuts the end off, the logo appears.
Given the years and tears involved, it’s no surprise that DeLaMare is passionate about the candy he produces. But this return promises to be a long-term love affair.
What did you think you would be when you grew up?
Everything from a garbage man to a professional athlete.
Name one or some of your favorite movies.
“Charades,” “What’s up, Doc?,” and “The Princess Bride” are some of my favorites.
Describe your perfect dream vacation.
At a beach house with the family when the weather is just right, good food and plenty of play time.
What book are you currently reading?
I spend most of my reading time in scriptures, “The Bible” and “The Book of Mormon.”
Aside from a family member, whom would you most want to be stranded with on a deserted island?
Someone like President Obama, because I know the whole military would be looking for him.
What’s your pet peeve?
Politicians not answering the question asked – which could cause a problem with the previous answer.
I’d give anything to meet:
The best piece of advice that I’ve gotten:
Never fry bacon in the nude.
What excites you most about your job?
Working with the candy, and seeing the design when it pulls down - so cool every time it works.