Northfield candy shop owner loves her job
Kim Smith, owner of Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory said buying the store was a no-brainer. | Jackie Pilossoph~For Sun-Times Media
Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory
300 Happ Road, Northfield
Updated: November 13, 2012 9:52AM
NORTHFIELD — When Kim Smith decided five years ago that she wanted to buy and run a small business, she wasn’t sure exactly what type of company she’d end up with.
What she did know for sure, and what she’s always known, is that she loves chocolate.
So, when she found out Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory in Northfield was for sale, Smith said it was “a no brainer.”
“I found this little tiny ad in a local paper and it read, ‘North Shore candy store for sale’ and that was it. I was sold,” said Smith, who worked in trucking and warehousing for 17 years before buying the store. “My mom and I love gifting, we love the holidays, and we love candy.”
Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory is a franchise based in Durango, Col. with 300 stores nationwide. The Northfield store has been here for 23 years, and was sold to Smith by a retiring couple.
The store specializes in hand dipped chocolate, such as chocolate-covered strawberries, pretzels, Oreos and marshmallows, handmade fudge, and one of their biggest sellers, a wide variety of candied caramel apples.
“We get a lot of things handmade from the factory, but we get to do a lot here,” Smith said. “We make the caramel from scratch, we dip the apples and we can decorate them any way we want.”
Bob Soudan, who works in Northfield, said he stops by Rocky Mountain every so often to treat himself.
“I love their dark chocolate almond clusters and their caramel apples,” he said.
A huge part of Smith’s business are holiday parties and other corporate and private events, such as birthday parties, Girl Scout meetings and ladies night gatherings.
“We cater to big companies, and we just got an order from someone for 3,700 caramel apples, but we also do small, intimate parties,” said Smith, “Birthday parties are really fun here. Kids get to dip a caramel apple, a pretzel and a marshmallow.”
Trays, baskets, corporate gifting, holiday gifts and party favors are also a huge money maker for the store.
“We were thinking of doing caramel apples as favors for my daughter’s bridal shower,” said customer Karen Nora, of Evanston. “It’s a good fall theme and it’s something different. I just love their caramel apples.”
“People come in here and there are pre-packaged gifts, or you can create your own customized basket,” said Smith, “We also wrap and ship.”
Smith doesn’t do a lot of advertising. She said social media and participating in community events to get the word out has worked well when it comes to getting business.
“Plus, who doesn’t love chocolate?” she said. “It naturally makes you happy. It’s a feel good food.”