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My wife Joyce and I enjoy traveling. And often when we go, we like to pick up souvenirs for our family. I’ve noticed that the most popular souvenirs, particularly among our grandkids, are the edible ones. I’m talking about the chocolates and candies offered as specialty items at most hotels. They are sold in customized gift bags or containers and sometimes include a small stuffed animal or teddy bear.
Well, I was surprised to learn that many of those items are produced right here in Utah by a company called Creative Custom Confections.
I recently caught up with Lee Sponaugle, who along with his wife Lisa, owns the Salt Lake-based business. Lee told me that his company produces the customized chocolates and gifts for clients throughout the country. Many of those clients include well-known travel destinations such as Disneyland, Six Flags and several Las Vegas hotels including the Bellagio, Caesar’s Palace and the Mirage.
The company also designs and produces some gift ideas for Hershey Foods in Pennsylvania. In fact, Hershey is where Lee first started in the chocolate business. But after a few years, he and his wife Lisa longed for a change. Well, Utah’s skiing lured them west and they worked here as manufacturer’s reps. After a while, they discovered that many of their clients wanted customized gifts featuring their companies’ names. For Lee and Lisa, the discovery led to opportunity, and in 1993, they started up Creative Custom Confections.
Working with a local chocolate manufacturer, four graphic designers and a designer of plush teddy bears, the Sponaugles have perfected developing and delivering private label confections. Since just last year, their business has doubled. This year, they expect even more growth as they introduce new items such as a line of chocolate gifts to complement the popular book Chicken Soup for the Soul. Theirs will be known as Chocolate for the Soul—an appropriate product from a company whose success, you could say, would certainly smell sweet.
For Zions Bank, I’m Fred Ball. I’m speaking on business.