LIBBY – You wouldn’t expect to find a growing candy-making business in the kitchen behind a bar. But that is exactly what you’ll find at the Lake Koocanusa Marina along Montana Highway 37, just north of Libby. Randy and Randie Burch recently started marketing and selling Nanny’s Cookies and Candies.
The Libby couple is using old family recipes to make everything from chocolate turtles to peanut clusters. Randy said they started the company last year to stay busy during the winter months. They’re now selling their candy in Libby and Eureka.
“From the end of hunting season until now, it’s pretty quiet around here,” Randy said. “We’re taking it one step at a time. We want to see how things go during the summer.”
Randy said starting the candy business enabled the marina to keep a few more employees during the winter months. Before moving to Libby, the couple lived in Colorado where Randie ran a bakery. Some of the recipes from there are now making a comeback and a few weeks ago she made a fresh batch of carrot cookies that have become popular with guests.
Many of the more than 20 products the couple sells were first tested on guests at their campground. Randie said the candies are especially popular with Canadians.
“Quality is really important to us, I’m a stickler about it,” she said. “Doing it here at the resort is a lot more fun, too. Kids and grandparents love the candy.”
Because all of the candy is handmade, it can take hours or even days to make a batch. Peanut butter cups, for example, take time to harden. Randie starts with a peanut butter, butter and powdered sugar mix that’s made into balls and dipped in chocolate. Most of the candy is made in the morning, before the kitchen is overtaken with lunch orders.
“It’s all handmade, so it takes time, but it’s so much better,” Randie said. “(Plus) it’s a stress reliever.”
In the coming months, Randy and Randie expect the candy business to grow. They are working on a line of low-fat or sugar-free candies that are pending state approval. Randie said they might also look into making huckleberry-based candy, since the Spokandy Company purchased Helen’s Huckleberries and moved it to Washington. In the past, she was hesitant to make huckleberry products, not wanting to step on someone else’s turf, but now that Nanny’s is Libby’s only candy company, they may give it a try.
Randie said the candy business won’t replace the marina and campground. She also doesn’t want to turn it into an automated, machine-driven production. The fact that all the candy is homemade is its selling point, she said.
“It’s one of those things that if I feel like making it that day, I will,” she said.
Nanny’s Cookies and Candies are available at the Rosauers Supermarket and Ace Hardware in Libby. For more information, call (406) 293-7474.
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