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Small Business Snapshot: McCrea's Candies

Small Business Snapshot: McCrea's Candies Credit: t.e.l.l. Magazine

Our Small Business Snapshot series features photos that represent, in just one image, what the small businesses we feature are all about. Kate McCrea, co-owner of McCrea's Candies, explains how this image represents her business.

McCrea's Candies, based in Boston, makes hand-crafted luxe caramel. We are known for our use of salt, spirits and seasonings to produce a wide range of flavored caramel candies. McCrea's signature product features Hawaiian black lava sea salt swirled into caramel to provide a salty-sweet mouthful. Additional flavor combinations include Basil Cayenne, Ginger Fusion, Curried Butternut and Rosemary Truffle Sea Salt. We also offer such classic flavors as vanilla, chocolate, maple, mocha and coffee.

We use local, real-food ingredients and package our caramel in beautiful compostable containers.  Everything is made in America. In fact, McCrea's is a Good Food Award winner, an honor given to outstanding American food producers and the farmers who provide their ingredients.

Most of McCrea's customers purchase our caramel as a gift. The combination of fully compostable packaging, great taste, and 14 flavors of caramel made from 100-percent real food ingredients makes it an ideal present. Our caramel is available for purchase online and in retail outlets throughout North America.

In 2016, we significantly ramped-up production numbers and increased our staff two-fold. We expanded into more than 450 retail outlets throughout North American, more than double the number of stores that carried our products in 2015. We closed deals with high-end retailers like Barneys of New York (with more on the way). We also added new office space, overall doubling our square-footage with the anticipation of adding yet still more in 2017. We inked deals with well-known distribution companies, to further grow the reach of our product line.

Our next big challenge is how to manage that growth. We are still a small business and very hands-on.  Every job has been done by the founders at some point.  Stirring caramel is the essence of what we do and brings us close to the product and process. With growth comes specialization and added staff members to help with production. The challenge is to retain the hand-made quality of the product and the personal care that makes our product so special. 

We meet that challenge by training all of our staff not just how to make caramel but how to craft it and care about every step.  McCrea's is made up of an exceptional group of people. It's how we started the business and how we intend to keep growing the business — with everyone stirring the pot (so to speak); trying new flavors, testing new ideas. Our team represents McCrea's commitment to quality and their work makes it possible for us to bring our product to market but I hope I always get to have my turn with the stirring paddle.

Edited for brevity and clarity by Nicole Taylor.