NCET helps you explore business and technology
By Dave Archer
Walking into the Kimmie Candy Factory’s in east Reno is like, well, being a kid in a candy store.
Bins of colorful confections line the walls. There are the Sunbursts—oblong, colorful, candy-coated, chocolate-covered sunflower seeds. The ChocoRocks—fun-shaped chocolate chunks covered in a smooth colored candy shell. And, of course, PretzelBites—round, brown morsels in either dark chocolate or salted caramel.
Those bins aren’t just for show. After taking a free tour of the factory, participants can sample each flavor. (Maybe even twice!)
With a finale like that, it’s easy to understand why owner Joe Dutra likes to say he’s got the sweetest room in town. But, it’s more like a dozen-plus rooms, spread out over 43,000-square feet of warehouse and production space. Each of those rooms is part of the 54-hour process it takes to make each piece of Kimmie Candy, be it a smooth Sunburst or a craggy ChocoRock.
For the confections with a nutty core, the process starts in the roasting room where sunflowers and almonds are toasted to perfection 20 pounds at a time. From there, the kernels and seeds meet their chocolate covering in a spray room where they are coated continuously for four hours to build up a 3-to-1 ratio of chocolate to core.
Eventually, all Kimmie Candy confections will have their rough edges smoothed out by being rolled around in a drum. Then, it’s on to the coating room where each piece is primed with white before being coated with the appropriate color. Finally, the candy heads to the packaging room where it’s wrapped and branded. Each day, the factory produces more than 14.7 million ces of Sunbursts and almost 6.7 million ChocoRocks. Chocolate lovers nation-wide can find Kimmie Candy treats at stores such as Hobby Lobby, Ross and TJ Maxx.
For the past 18 years, Dutra and the team at Kimmie Candy Factory have improved continuously on the methods, techniques and technology they use to make the company’s signature and award-winning sweets. In 2018 the company introduced a new line of organic chocolates that will wear the Kimmie Candy label or be white-labeled for other brands. This line of organic sweets is the next step in the company’s growth.
But for Dutra, the sweetest part of the business is continuing to create jobs and opportunity. Since moving to Reno in 2007, the company relocated all its production to the Silver State. During the same time, the number of employees has grown from seven to more than 45 employees. And, every package of Kimmie Candy proudly states, “Made in America.”
How sweet it is.
Treat your sweetie to some sweets and tour the Kimmie Candy Factory during NCET’s Tech Wednesday event 5:30-7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 14, at Kimmie Candy. More information and registration at www.NCETwed.org
Dave Archer is president/CEO of NCET, which produces educational and networking events to help people explore business and technology. (www.NCET.org)