A Sweet Working Relationship
Dan Belmont mixes up some of
his Hawaiian Fudge Company
Dan and Ona Marie Belmont have the sweet taste of an old family fudge recipe to thank for their two-year-old business, Hawaiian Fudge Company.
“Most of our fudge sauce gets eaten straight with a spoon,” explains Dan Belmont. “They tell us they open the jar, stick it in the refrigerator, and take some spoonfuls whenever they need a snack.”
The spreadable fudge can be used on ice cream, cakes, mixed in coffee, and as a dessert topping. Another sweet idea, and a popular one, is to pack it in small, privately labelled jars for weddings.
Island Heritage is packaging Hawaiian Fudge Company’s newest product - a gift box of three original fudge flavors: macadamia nut, kona coffee and tutu’s original.
“When I saw the prototype, I got chicken skin,” says Belmont, noting that several locations, including Elephant Walk, Native Books Na Mea Hawaii and Hilo Hattie, will carry the gift pack.
Another flavor the company released recently is white chocolate and ginger.
“I’m always thinking of unique products that people haven’t seen,” says Belmont. “I haven’t seen anything in white fudge. Then I ran into a guy who makes gelato, and he mentioned he used ginger in one of his gelatos.”
The company started after the husband-and-wife team helped a friend at the Made In Hawaii show in August 2003. By November, they turned his old secret family recipe into a batch ready for sale. They started pounding the pavement to find businesses that would sell their product. After a taste of the fudge, the first stores to order the pourable chocolate were The Cottage in Windward Mall and Na Mea Hawaii in Ward Warehouse.
“Every time that we served it, it everybody loved it,” he says.
The husband-and-wife team splits the distribution duties. He manufactures the fudge in a certified kitchen with a helper, and he takes care of the accounting and the website, which attracts more wholesale orders and repeat orders from tourists. She is in charge of the sales and marketing.
His background includes working in real estate, selling real estate software. He holds down a full-time job at Oahu Alston Power, where his schedule is three days on, four days off. She works on the fudge sales full time. Her employment history included working in sales in the visitor magazine industry in Hawaii and for Pacific Business News.
“Working together with your spouse is a challenge,” he says, noting they each have a desk at their Makakilo home office. “It’s kind of a good thing. You have two people who want to make the company work, and we have our ideas of how that should be. Imagine spending all day at work and then at home together. You really need to separate business and pleasure, and we work on that every day.”
He says another challenge is his reliance on the shipping industry, and that if anything ever happened to those lines of delivery, it wouldn’t be good. But challenges aside, Belmont says he really likes doing business in Hawaii.
“Hawaii is truly a very unique place,” he adds. “The people here are so wonderful. It’s the ohana, aloha spirit and working together.”
The Belmonts also have a booth once a month at the farmer’s markets at Kapiolani Community College, Kailua and Mililani. The Hawaiian Fudge Sauce is available at several stores on Oahu, Maui, Kauai, the Big Island and a few places on the Mainland. For a complete list, check the website www.hawaiianfudgesauce.com. For more information, call 221-3244.
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