On June 9, 2023, we're celebrating our fifth birthday! That's a half decade of Fortune Favors (and Nutkrack) candied pecans!
As we reminisced about the past five years, we jotted down (well, typed up) some of our thoughts and memories below. Enjoy!
A Happy Accident
Fortune Favors began as a mistake... the best one that ever happened to us! Eric was hard at work in the kitchen, the stovetop crowded with pots and pans, when he accidentally dropped some pecan halves into the wrong pot. When he saw them again later, he noticed they had a perfect, shiny glaze to them. He tasted one, and was surprised at how crunchy and delicious it was. He added salt to a second batch, and shared them with family and friends. They were instantly spellbound, and a ritual was born: Eric would prepare these enchanting treats for campfires or holiday gifts, and they would be instantly and utterly devoured. Throughout his entire career, he had never seen a food make people as happy as his candied pecans did. Fast forward five years and today, Eric and a small team of food-lovers are sharing Fortune Favors candied pecans across the nation!
One of the scariest parts about starting a business is the constant worry that it will fail. Fortune Favors (then Nutkrack) has been lucky enough to have the support of an entire community of local grocery stores, and we owe much of our success to those first few risk-takers: Willy St Coop, Metcalfe's, Orange Tree Imports, and Fromagination. They got their customers excited about our candied pecans and those customers told their friends, family, and neighbors about us, and so on. This network of nut lovers fueled our success in the early years of our small business!
Our beginnings revolved around The Classic flavor, equal parts sweet and salty, with the perfect amount of toastedness and crunch. But we were itching to experiment the same process with new flavors! In 2019, we launched The Spicy (formerly Firekracker), a hot take on our original candied pecans tossed in a blend of five different chilis. And in 2021, we released The Everything candied pecans... like the bagel! Sweet AND savory, with bits of dried onion, garlic, sesame, and poppy seeds. Our flavor line-up was complete, but not for long—we're testing out new flavors as we speak!
In late 2021, we partnered with the brilliant Mayana Chocolate from Spooner, WI to create the Magic Bar! Just one bite and you'll realize this candy bar lives up to its name. This 3.5 ounce delight is made with:
- Salted pecan caramel
- Vanilla bean nougat
- Crunchy Fortune Favors The Classic pecans
- 66% dark chocolate
The Magic Bar has proved to be a crowd favorite!
As we headed into 2022, it was clear we were busting at the seams of our 2086 Atwood Ave kitchen, shipping, and retail space. We could barely store a week's worth of finished product there, which meant we were making trips back and forth to our third party storage facility. Through sheer determination and knowledge intake, our leadership team was able to secure a loan that would help pay for a new-to-us facility in Cottage Grove. Now we have a building dedicated solely to production, storage, and offices, that will allow us to grow in new directions without space limitations!
Growth for us also meant a new name. Over the past two years we worked with a local marketing company to help us create a new brand. We reviewed several dozen different name ideas and ultimately decided on Fortune Favors because it captures both the whimsical nature of Nutkrack and the opportunity to grow even bigger (new products, new merch, new presence nationwide, etc.)! It was hard for us to say goodbye to Nutkrack, but we are even more excited about Fortune Favors and the opportunities it will bring us! Same people, same nuts, new name.
Thanks for being a part of our journey over the past five years—we couldn't have done it without you! Every can of candied pecans that you've bought for yourself, shared at a family gathering, gifted to a friend, or baked into a recipe has helped our small business thrive. We feel extremely grateful to be so supported in the Madison community and beyond. Thank you!