MEMBER SPOTLIGHT: Baraboo Candy more than Cow Pies

Store worker helping customer

Melanie Spoke helps a customer at Baraboo Candy.

Everything is fresh at Baraboo Candy, from the innovative new products on the shelves to the ingredients used to make them.

Cow Pies remain the top seller, but each year Baraboo Candy introduces new offerings – often at customers’ behest. Hence the advent of dark chocolate peanut butter potato chips and milk chocolate scoops with raspberry filling. These additions complement time-tested – and whimsically named – products such as Udderfingers and Horse Apples. “We listen to customers,” said Melanie Spoke, who manages the factory store with Andrea Frangieh.

Baraboo Candy is one of several local manufacturers the Chamber plans to highlight during October, which the state of Wisconsin has labeled Manufacturing Month.

Now 37 years old, Baraboo Candy employs 10 workers in its factory and store off Sauk County Highway BD. The store, which accounts for about 75 percent of the company’s sales, rings up 50-75 transactions daily. It enjoys steady traffic from local regulars and vacationers who make a point of stopping each year. “They keep coming back,” Andrea said.

Baraboo Candy also derives significant revenue from its website, with orders shipped nationwide. General Manager Don Carroll said most orders arrive at the customer’s door in two days, with thermal wrapping to prevent melting.

The staff said customers like patronizing a locally owned business selling handmade products comprised of fresh milk and real butter – and without oils or preservatives. “Everything is fresh, fresh, fresh,” Don said.

Baraboo Candy manufactures more than 100 products, from caramels to fudge to treats made from milk, white and dark chocolate. The store also stocks taffy, hard candy and sugar-free products made elsewhere.

Don said he buys 40,000 pounds of milk chocolate each year, and 10,000 pounds of pecans. Those are the key ingredients in Cow Pies, the signature product Baraboo Candy sold 250,000 of last year. It sold half a million miniature Cow Pies.

A recent addition – Cow Pie liqueur – has become a hit, selling 1,000 bottles – plus 4,000 mini bottles – in just a year and a half. Last year Baraboo Candy introduced a line of “meltys,” small chocolates designed to melt in your mouth. For fall the store is stocking candy corn, a caramel dip and pumpkin spice caramel. “Every holiday is new and exciting,” Melanie said.

After the holiday season, the staff goes into research and development mode, led by plant manager Tina David. They’ll try out prototypes of products that just might make it to the shelves in 2020. After all, Baraboo Candy is always looking to add something fresh.