After passing out samples of their Clodhoppers candy all day at the Wal-Mart Canada vendor show in Toronto, the co-founders of Krave's Candy Co. in Winnipeg, Manitoba, didn't bother to read the badge of a man who walked up to their booth. When he revealed he was Lee Scott, president and CEO of Wal-Mart USA, Chris Emery, 33, and Larry Finnson, 34, were stunned--but regained their composure and discussed opportunities with Scott.
After 400 U.S. Wal-Mart locations tested the product during the 2000 Christmas season, Clodhoppers could be found in all 2,700 stores by Christmas 2001, boosting Krave's sales by 40 percent.
Focusing on becoming a top candy brand in Canada, Krave's isn't actively pursuing many other U.S. accounts but is testing regionally with Costco and angling for the U.S. specialty food market.
Emery's grandmother--on whose recipe Clodhoppers were based--still buys the candy. "It's a great gift to Chris' grandma, us being successful with her recipe," Finnson remarks. For these best friends, a brand with 2003 projected sales of nearly $6 million makes it clear that Grandma knows best.
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