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Meet the Maker: Sweetsmith Candy Co. built a solid business on a brittle foundation

Author: SHELLEY BOETTCHER, SWERVE - CALGARY HERALD

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Stirring the pot

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Dannah Davies’ culinary journey started early, but it hasn’t always been as sweet as it is today.

Davies first sold her homemade candy at the age of 11. By 15, she was helping to pay her family’s bills. It was 2008, and her parents had moved from Spruce Grove, Alta. to Arizona, where her father hoped to start a tutoring business. But the global recession was at its height, and the new business didn’t work out. Davies’ parents were forced to use food stamps to feed the family and couldn’t pay their rent. “We were dead broke,” Davies recalls. “It was really scary.”

In an attempt to improve their situation, Davies and her mom began stirring up batches of candy with ingredients bought with food stamps. Her dad then sold it at churches and gas-station parking lots. The peanut brittle and toffees, which were based on the recipes of an old family friend, became wildly popular and—you know where this is going—the family paid the rent.

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