Posted: Feb 13, 2013 8:55 AM by Beth Saboe
Updated: Feb 13, 2013 12:04 PM
BOZEMAN - The economic recession took a bite out of many businesses, but one Gallatin Valley candy shop actually grew during the downturn.
Robin Bequet started Bequet Confections in 2001 after losing her upper management job in the telecom industry.
"I worked for ILX Lightwave and had a front row seat for the train wreck. So instead of thinking about early retirement, I found myself trying to decide how I was going to help support my family," said Bequet.
The home-made caramels she crafted for friends and family often got rave reviews, so Bequet decided to set her 25 years of technical sales aside to follow her stomach and go into the candy-making business.
"We did some test markets and 17 out of 18 adults in a blind taste test chose ours as their favorite," said Bequet.
She added that friends and family were very supportive, but some professional associates that looked at her like she'd lost her mind.
Located in a warehouse near Four Corners, Bequet Confections produces truckloads of award-winning caramel every year. Right now, the company typically makes about two tons of caramel every week. That number increases dramatically during the holiday season to over a ton each day.
So what's the secret to her success? Bequet calls her multi-million dollar business "recession proof," saying the company's growth actually accelerated during the economic downturn.
"Turns out, our caramel is a comfort food. Somebody can buy a single caramel and lift themselves up for 40 to 50 cents apiece. Perhaps they've eliminated a lot of luxuries in their life, but this is one luxury they can still afford," she said.
Every single Bequet caramel is inspected by hand to ensure quality and secured with a wrapper that says ‘Made in Montana.'
Bequet Confections is located at 8235 Huffine Lane in Bozeman. Their caramels are sold at over 700 gourment markets and retailers across the country.
Currently there are 10 varieties available: soft, chewy, celtic sea salt, chipotle, chocolate, espresso, salt-chocolate, butterscotch, green apple and cinnamon swirl.