Taste and See Chocolates and Gelato
December 27th, 2013 by Gwen Green
Long before meeting each other, Greg and Denay Maheu of Ashdown both dreamed of having their own candy shop. When Denay was five, she even made a wish on a dandelion that one day she would own a candy store. Greg’s love for candy making began while learning to make English toffee with his mother as a teenager.
With the dream of opening a candy store heavy on their minds, the couple began working with the ASBTDC office at Southern Arkansas University in 2008.
Their first step was attending ASBTDC seminars on starting a business, writing a business plan and marketing. The Maheus began selling their candies online and taking phone orders in 2009. With the help of their son Brock, they set up a website and started an e-commerce business. Wanting to expand to a storefront, the couple opened Taste and See Candies in Ashdown in February 2011.
Having tasted success, the couple decided they were interested in expanding. In 2012, Brock came on board full-time and began training with two European chefs, concentrating on gelato making. This training, coupled with Brock’s business and sales background, gave the family what it needed to expand into new product offerings and a new location.
With the help of ASBTDC market research, the Maheus worked to find the perfect Texarkana location for their business. The ASBTDC assisted them in reviewing their target market and by preparing Tapestry® and market potential maps for proposed locations. In November 2012, Taste and See Chocolates and Gelato opened in Texarkana and began producing all candies and gelato in house. With the addition of daughter Ashley, the business became a full-on family establishment.
The Maheus credit the SAU ASBTDC with helping them through the process of opening both stores. Denay said that the training offered by the ASBTDC was a big help during their planning. “With the support and valuable information from Megan and the ASBTDC we were able to expand into a larger population,” she said.