Selling candy may not seem like a risk, but the sisters who started Truly Scrumptious Candies and Confections had a lot to lose when they started the business.
Linda McAdams, 50, was in need of work when she asked her sister, Karen Daigle, 60, to dive into a new venture making Pretzel Crunch, a sweet and salty snack that friends and family raved about for years.
“Maybe we just need to take this leap of faith,” McAdams said at the time. “Maybe that’s what God has in mind.”
Two flavors of Pretzel Crunch — White Chocolate and Cranberry Almond — took off quickly last summer, hitting Baton Rouge-area store shelves within two months of starting production at the LSU AgCenter Food Incubator.
Now the pair is looking to expand.
“We want to conquer Baton Rouge,” McAdams said. “This general area. This is where we live. This is our home. We want Pretzel Crunch to be a household name, and then we can start moving from there.”
While the sisters knew people loved their product, turning it into a profitable business would be a challenge.
When McAdams and Daigle were single in New Orleans in the 1980s, they started the business, making candies on the side. They never made much money, selling to family, friends and co-workers, but they loved creating treats.
They eventually quit because they had too little time.
“We didn’t have a life,” McAdams said. “We worked and did this on the side.”
In October 2013, both married and living in the Baton Rouge area, they decided to resurrect the small business.
Earlier that year, McAdams lost her job in the communications industry. She interviewed for a few positions and was rejected.
“I came home and said to my husband, ‘Do I have that little value that nobody wants to hire me to do anything?’ ” she said.
With her husband, James McAdams, 53, out of work after his job moved to Texas, she decided to hire herself.
“We keep hearing this phrase ‘leap of faith.’ And three or four people who didn’t know each other kept talking about their own leap of faith. Within a week’s time, I heard it like three or four times,” McAdams said.
McAdams called her sister and told her she wanted to revive their candy business, but make it a serious, “full-blown” enterprise.
Daigle, who decorates cakes full time, didn’t have a lot of spare time, but she was excited by the new opportunity.
They started off just selling their product through word of mouth and hawking it at festivals and craft shows. Then they learned about the LSU AgCenter’s Food Incubator and joined in the summer. Through the program, they were able to get help with all the regulations and official paperwork as well as shelf-life testing.
“It opened a tremendous amount of doors for us,” McAdams said.
For LSU football season, they introduced Tiger, a purple-and-gold-colored version of their White Chocolate Pretzel Crunch. It became a bestseller.
“We would be silly not to capitalize on it, being in Tiger land,” Daigle said.
The sisters, along with McAdams’ husband, regularly reach out to customers via social media and hand out samples of their products at stores.
They wear T-shirts with the Pretzel Crunch slogan: Sweet, Salty and Sinful.