There is, arguably, always room for another caramel in the marketplace. The challenge becomes setting yourself apart.
Poorboy Candy is a contender, based upon its lusciously creamy caramels infused with chocolate or espresso, larded with pecans, or sprinkled with a few grains of Fleur de Sel. There's also a classic "plain" caramel, honed from years of family gift exchanges being limited to homemade presents.
Kevin Halgrimson, a commercial photographer, had wanted to open a food or brew business for years, but was stymied by start-up costs. Hence, Poorboy.
"It's expensive starting a food business, so I thought the name fit," he said.
He took the plunge in February and opened his Champlin-based company with the aid of business partner and longtime friend Mike LaPoint. The caramels actually are made in Becker, Minn., where a friend who owns a pizza restaurant offered them a state-licensed corner to work in, but they're seeking a facility closer to the Twin Cities.
Poorboy caramels are sold online at www.poorboycandy.com, with prices starting at $8 for a quarter-pound, and also by the piece in counter displays at Mara-Mi and Brine's Market & Deli in Stillwater, Kopplin's Coffee and Caffe Latté in St. Paul, Local D'Lish and Turtle Bread in Minneapolis, Hudy's Cafe in Champlin, Marlo's Haberdashery Too in Big Lake, and Jimmy's Pizza in Cold Spring and Becker, Minn.