From humble beginnings of handcrafting sweets for locals and tourists, to becoming a specialty snack manufacturer famous for chocolate-dipped bacon, Golden, Colo.-based Genesee Candy Land has grown through the years.
Owner Lorri Alden has also gone through an evolution – from a confectionery enthusiast to entrepreneur and self-appointed “chocolate bacon queen.”
A New England native, Alden hails from an entrepreneurial family. Her great-great-grandfather started a dairy in Scotland before immigrating to Lowell, Mass., where he founded Kydd’s Dairy. Her grandfather, and later her father, continued the operation until the early ‘80s. Alden remembers visiting the dairy on Saturdays to make deliveries with her father.
Having earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing management, Alden worked in corporate America for 25 years before hearing her innate entrepreneurial voice whisper. She started her own business as a life coach affiliated with Tony Robbins’ organization. In 2008, she met and joined her future husband in managing several businesses, including a retail candy and fudge shop, as well as two convenience stores.
With her extensive marketing background, entrepreneurial spirit and a passion for cooking shows, Alden got the inspiration to create her signature chocolate-covered bacon in 2015. A production facility for Genesee Candy Land followed, and in 2016, she completed the rigorous USDA certification process to become the only food manufacturer in the U.S. certified to produce full slices of smoked bacon enrobed in chocolate. The company also offers fudge bites, jumbo decadent cookies and a novelty line of “animal poo” chocolates to wholesalers. Jalapeno-flavored products are also on the horizon.
If you were stranded on a deserted island with only one kind of candy, what would it be?
M&M’S because of the variety of flavors (Of course, that’s after I’ve eaten my own chocolate-covered bacon).
What’s the last cool thing you saw online?
Phannie’s Boozy Jams and Jellies from Somersworth, N.H.
When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A business executive so I could use a typewriter like my grandmother and mother.
What issues concern you most about the confectionery/snack industry and why?
The rising cost of chocolate and the potential scarcity of cocoa. We use chocolate in all our products, so it is a key ingredient. And in my personal world, chocolate serves many purposes – it’s a reward, an energy boost, a comforter and a loyal friend.
What’s the last book you’ve read?
A fiction story by David Baldacci (it takes me 8 months to finish a pleasure book because of those darn trade journals).
What is your pet peeve?
Cigarette smokers who think the planet is their personal ashtray.
If given the chance to choose anyone, with whom would you like to collaborate?
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Surround yourself with amazing people who know more than you do (and can make you laugh).
What excites you most about your job?
Having the freedom to experiment without calling a meeting, writing a memo or passing a law (can you tell I spent 25 years in the corporate world?!).