Nates Candy Jar Fudge in a Cup

Nate's Candy Jar: Lessons Learned from Indiana Businesses

May 15, 2018
GOSPORT, Ind. - From handmade fudge to caramels and taffy, satisfy your sweet tooth at Nate's Candy Jar in Gosport.

Nate's began with a simple idea: make caramels and sell them to raise money for school playground equipment.

"We needed to make some playground equipment at our school. We needed to raise some money, and so my son Nathan said to me, 'Why don't we make Nancy's caramels and sell them at our festival in town?' So we did, and we raised about $3,000," said Alyssa Rice, owner of Nate's Candy Jar.

After the festival, calls for caramels kept coming in.

"I started making them more and more because people would call, 'Hey, can we have some of those caramels? Would you make them for my birthday? Would you make them for Christmas?' Ten years later we had the opportunity to open up a store," said Alyssa.

Nate's creates more than just caramels now. Fudge is their number one product. "What we decided to do was to put it in a cup and call it Fudge in a Cup. We did that last year, and when we did that, our sales took off," said Alyssa.

Alyssa learned to adapt as her business grew in unexpected ways.

"We have a lot of customers in Michigan, and they were like, 'There's no place here for us to get it.' We needed to figure out how can we wholesale this and get it into those stores so that people can enjoy our product. So we slowly evolved to a wholesale company," said Alyssa. "We're shipping all over the United States and Canada. We're doing gift stores, like Hallmark stores and hospital gift stores all the way up to resorts."

"One of the first things I wanted to carry, I wanted some confections but I wanted something really unique and delicious and different that you couldn't get everywhere else. So I started carrying Nate's and it flies off the shelves," said Denise Sudol, owner of The Dragonfly Gallery in Spencer.

And little inspiration from some leftover fudge created a whole new product line for Nate's Candy Jar.

"The other product that we invented is called Fido's Fudge and it came to be by having extra fudge leftover and what was I going to do with it? How can I make this work? What if we made a fudge treat for dogs? So we worked with Purdue University and developed a dog-safe treat. There's no caffeine. There's no chocolate. Lots of resort hotels, if they're pet-friendly, they're loving the Fido's Fudge," said Alyssa.

As the customers' cravings for candy grew, so did the shop's insurance needs.

"When we had to talk about employees and changing our insurance and how things were going to evolve, I knew that I could pick up the phone immediately and Indiana Farmers was just a phone call away," said Alyssa. "And that's one thing that was really important to me. They're there to help us. They will help us find the way."

To learn more about Nate's Candy Jar, visit them at

To find a local Indiana Farmers Insurance agent near you, click here.


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