Young Entrepreneur Turns Family Toffee Recipe into a Sweet Success
Young entrepreneur, Brandon Weimer, learned how to make almond toffee from a family friend at a young age. While perfecting his recipe over time, the toffee became an enthusiastically anticipated gift to family and friends for holidays, birthdays, and other occasions. When given an opportunity to go on a high school trip to Italy, Brandon and his best friend Leah Post began selling the toffee to raise funds for the trip, surpassing their funding goal. Returning from Italy, and with the help of the Post and Weimer families, they set their sights on turning their successful fundraising enterprise into a family-owned business—and Brandini Toffee was born.
Starting with just a few hundred dollars, they earned under under $20,000 in sales the first year. Over the ensuing years, business was booming, but adjusting to the impressive growth and change became challenging. Then, in 2015, the factory was forced to relocate due to a change in property ownership.
Brandon credits utilizing SBA’s 7(a) Loan Program, with a loan issued by participating lender Rabobank, with giving them working capital for tenant improvements and expansion. SBA’s 7(a) Program guarantees small business loans issued by program-approved lenders, giving lenders the confidence to provide qualifying entrepreneurs secure financing on reasonable terms by promising to reimburse those lenders up to 75-85% of a loan's value upon borrower default. The loan helped Brandini Toffee create a factory with the mindset of accommodating future growth and has opened the door for new opportunities, larger accounts, and more jobs for workers.
Brandon and Leah love to give back by sharing their story with school children touring their facilities in hopes of inspiring the next generation of entrepreneurs. Brandini Toffee donates thousands of pounds of their product every year to local charities around their community and has helped in fundraising efforts for fallen police officers. In 2008, they won the Sofi™ Award for Outstanding Chocolate, presented by the Specialty Food Association. Their story was featured on the Martha Stewart Show, Oprah.com’s “O” List, and the Food Network’s “Chef vs. City.” The company's toffee was served to President Obama at the 2013 Annenberg Foundation Sunnylands Retreat. Now in their 12th year, Brandini Toffee has grown consistently and currently employs up to 75 employees seasonally. They distribute to over 1,000 retail stores and have three stores of their own in the Coachella Valley.
Brandon Weimer says, “We’re a family-owned company handcrafting simple ingredients into sweet indulgences that make people say 'mmm.'”