"It's all looking good y'all," says Larry Szrama. That's how the president of Landies Candies sums up his latest project.
Landies is churning out Paula Deen chocolate butter sticks. They are all chocolate (dark, milk or white) and shaped like a stick of butter, which the celebrity chef is known for.
The local candy maker landed the Deen deal thanks to its longtime connection to Western New York supermarkets. "Paula Deen is on the comeback. We're so happy about that," Szrama said. "She obviously had a big speed bump last year, but is rebuilding, restructuring, relaunching the company."
The chocolate butter sticks are sold at Landies store at the Tri-Main building in Buffalo or at the Paula Deen store in Clarence.
Landies employees, which range from 20 to 40 workers depending on the season, are also busy making private label chocolates for all 83 Wegmans stores.
The only sour part of the business is the rising price of sweet ingredients. "We use the most expensive domestic chocolate available in America," Szrama said. "Fresh roasted nuts, made in small batches, many of the items are made by hand."
Most of those candies are sold on the wholesale level, which helped Landies make the 2014 Business First list of fast track companies for its growth. "Ten to 15 percent, we've been averaging the last three years over the previous year," Szrama said. "So more than double digit growth, which is great."
You can look for Landies Candies on QVC this summer for the Christmas in July special.