Relationships are the key to success in any environment — and the networking and resulting connections made in the chocolate and candy industry are no different.

We recently held our Chocolate Boot Camp educational course and when asked about their biggest take away from the course, the overwhelming response from attendees was the relationships that they had built.

They were reminded that they are not alone in the challenges they face and they now have fellow confectionery friends to celebrate successes with.

At Retail Confectioners International, we are passionate about connecting chocolate and candy makers to each other and with industry suppliers. One of the best ways to do that is to attend industry events.

We are excitedly preparing for our upcoming Spring Regional Institute to be held in Jacksonville and St. Augustine, Fla., this month. Both members and non-members are welcome at this confectionery industry event, which features educational sessions such as email marketing, succession planning and Good Manufacturing Practices. Plus, we’ll go behind-the-scenes for tours of area candy stores. Visit for all of the details.

Our biggest event of the year, our 92nd Annual Convention and Industry Expo, will be June 11-15 in San Francisco. Our theme, “Linking Up in San Francisco”, is a great reminder of the connections and relationships created and developed by attending such events.

Our annual tradeshow will be June 12 -13 and is free to all confectionery industry professionals. If you’re interested in attending the tradeshow, I encourage you to visit to print the free tradeshow ticket. New this year, tradeshow attendees are able to view the expo floor plan online, including descriptions of each exhibitor and links to their websites. Plus, you can make a customized plan and print it before attending so that you are sure to meet the exhibitors you’re most interested in.

We also will feature education and idea-sharing sessions as well as networking opportunities for convention attendees.

Educational sessions include:

•           Rose Potts with Blommer Chocolate discussing “Wine’s Secret Crush on Chocolate”

•           Heena Patel with Scientific Certification Systems sharing the practical steps to building a complete HACCP plan

Juan Carlos Arroyave with CasaLuker S.A. discussing fine flavored cocoa

•           Dan Dermer with Sweet Packaging exploring “Packaging and Marketing for the Wholesale Segment”

•           Joe Sofia with Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate and Dennis Witzel, consultant, discussing “What Does Natural Mean to You.”

The convention week will end with two days full of tours of area candy stores and industry suppliers, including a behind-the-scenes tour of Jelly Belly Candy Co., Blommer Chocolate Co., and Guittard Chocolate Co. For the full schedule, visit

While events are always a great way to connect with others, you can also stay connected to the industry from your inbox by signing up for our free industry eNewsBrief, a weekly email that features highlights of what is happening in the confectionery industry.

If you’re able to attend one of our events, please be sure to find me and introduce yourself. I would love to be another connection you can celebrate successes with.




Upcoming RCI Event Dates:



RCI Spring Regional Institute,

Jacksonville & St. Augustine, Fla., April 17-20, at the Omni Jacksonville Hotel.

Mastering Caramels, April 21-23, St. Augustine, Fla.


92nd Annual Convention & Industry Expo, San Francisco, Calif., June 11-15; Reconnect June 17-20 in Hawaii.


 Up-to-date event information can always be found online at