How Sweet It Is

| 12/6/2017 12:00:00 AM

Country MoonChocolates. Dark chocolates. Truffles. Chocolate-covered pretzels. Nut and fruit filled chocolates and peppermint Oreo truffles. Oh my! Naomi Privett, owner and entrepreneur behind Shipshewana, Indiana's Naomi’s Candies,  has a sweet thing going and it seems to be growing all the time.

Naomi’s Candies was born as sort of a fluke 15 years ago. She recalled, “I made some hard tack bags of candy for a party with some co-workers. Everyone loved it and my manager suggested that I start making it to sell at restaurants. In a span of two weeks, I sold 14 bags!”

It wasn’t long before she started experimenting with other sweet confections. After the hard tack, she tried her hand at suckers. Soon after that she ventured into chocolates because, after all, who can resist rich chocolate candy? This is when business really started to boom because there were just so many possibilities. “Chocolate can cover just about anything,” Naomi explains. “There are all kinds of fruit centers, nougat, caramel, peanut butter and a variety of nuts and rich chocolatey centers with different flavor additives like peppermint and orange. I like to experiment with different centers for the chocolates.”

In the beginning, she only sold her candies at the bakery where she worked. Then she got her first account at, of all places, a butcher shop that wanted to sell her sweets. It seemed like one thing led to another and she kept trying new items like chocolate-covered chewies, turtles, and recipes that came from her mother like maple balls.

It just seemed to fall into place for her and she knew that she had found her niche. “Timing was perfect. When I first started I was a new mom and I knew that I wanted to stay home with the baby and also work. Making candies let me do both.”

It grew so fast that she soon found herself with a bit of a problem. “To be legal, I needed a licensed kitchen that was separate from our personal kitchen in which to make the candy.”