It takes guts, gumption and drive to start a business. And it takes hard work to grow it into an establishment that’s not jut popular in the city where you begin, but far and wide. Palm Springs has many successful small businesses that are growing and gaining country-wide attention. In this series, we’ll look at some businesses that are uniquely Palm Springs, how they got to where they are, and what they love about being based in Palm Springs.
Uniquely Palm Springs – Brandini Toffee
We’re kicking things off with Brandini Toffee. While many locals know the story of the two high schoolers who launched this company from their kitchen, many visitors may not. So we asked co-founder Brandon Weimer so talk to us about what makes Palm Springs such a great place, and what drives them to keep impressing visitors and locals alike.
It was a trip to Italy that launched Palm Springs’ most famous confection. In 2006, Brandon and his best pal Leah Post wanted to go on a high school class trip to Italy, but of course they needed funds. In their home kitchens they whipped up batches of crunchy, sweet and salty toffee and started selling it. Within just months of launching their plan, they’d met their fundraising goal. Once they returned, the duo realized they had a popular product on their hands and a local Palm Springs business was born.
Hometown Proud: a unique Palm Springs souvenir
“Our hometown is where Brandini Toffee all started,” explains Weimer. “While I’d like to think we have the potential to expand much greater, this community will always get credit for supporting our mission since day one. We have relied solely on our product, word of mouth, and our customers to help us grow.”
When locals stop by they can often be relied upon to bring their out of town friends, and so there are now plenty of visitors who make sure to include a stop at Brandini Toffee before they head home, a tradition Weimer is grateful for.
“The tourist market has been huge for our company. We do very little advertising and therefore rely on people within the community — hotels, restaurants, etc. — to help promote us. We pride ourselves on being a product of the Palm Springs area and want people to know that Brandini is a must try/buy when visiting,” says Weimer.
Of course running a business where your product is heat-sensitive in the middle of the California desert is not without its challenges.
Desert Chocolate Challenges
“We joke that being a chocolate company in the middle of the desert is almost an oxymoron,” says Weimer. “From a heat standpoint, this makes shipping and logistics a nightmare. We have always struggled with safely shipping our chocolate products during the summer and are still working on solutions to making it easier.”
Weimer is obviously optimistic and enthusiastic when asked about these challenges, and is pragmatic when asked to offer advice to others who may one day start their own businesses in the Palm Springs area.
“Quite simply I think it takes a good idea and hard work. Running a business is never easy but it is beyond rewarding. Passion should be your fuel and get you through the hard obstacles. We are constantly learning and never seem to know enough. I advise people to find advice. You don’t need to know all of the answers, simply know the right questions. Also, leverage Google! We have an unlimited amount of information literally in our back pocket.”
If you’ve yet to experience Brandini Toffee’s creamy toffee base, decadent dark chocolate layer and crunchy almond dusting, be warned: this stuff is addictive!
Visit a uniquely Palm Springs treasure, Brandini Toffee at 132 S. Palm Canyon Drive in Palm Springs or click here for more information.