BY PAUL BICKLEY
One night five years ago, Kristi Risk woke from a dream with an idea and popped out of bed to write it down. That idea became Fudge O’Bits, bite-size pieces of chocolate-coated fudge. Today, the tiny treats are the centerpiece of Diamond K Sweets and More, 109 S. Main St. in Spencer. The business launched in 2015 and was named the 2016 Owen County Business of the Year.
“We use the same from-scratch recipe my mom developed more than 50 years ago,” says Risk, 47, who co-owns the company with her daughter, Kelsie, 22, who manages advertising, packaging, and product design. Risk’s husband, David, 48, a mechanic, keeps the equipment humming. Son, D.J., 17, supervises shipping.
Made in small batches, the preservative-free Bits are coated in Belgian chocolate and come in 11 flavors, including ChocoSupreme, Maple Pecan, Vanillicious, and best-seller Sea Salt Caramel.
Risk says Fudge O’Bits got a big push with a nomination for Best New Product at Chicago’s 2015 Sweets & Snacks Expo, and her 2016 appearance with Kelsie on Inside INdiana Business with Gerry Dick.
Fudge O’Bits has struck a sweet chord with wholesale buyers. Locally, Bloomingfoods and Bloomington Hardware carry them. At a trade show last year, an independent candy broker sampled Fudge O’Bits and recommended them to a corporate buyer for Menards. Now, all 305 Menards stores in 14 states (including the Bloomington store) sell them.
“The Menards buyer ordered 33,000 pounds before we had the equipment or personnel for that kind of shipment,” Risk says. “We went to the bank, then we hired nine people. Then we worked six weeks, from 3:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., seven days a week.”
In its second year, the company did 200 percent more business than it did in its first. Its third year saw a 250 percent increase. The Risks recently purchased a larger building.
While wholesale sales do the heavy lifting for Diamond K, for now Risk says she enjoys interacting with customers at the store—and turning ideas into products.
For more information or to order online, visit diamondksweets.com.