A loan of $6,100 helped to purchase 2 chocolate mixing machines and packaging materials for her candy-making business.

Valerie's story

Valerie enjoyed her 15 years in the behavioral health field, but then the economy soured and she closed her office. She decided to pursue her dream of becoming a chocolatier. “One holiday season we bought some confections from a well-known candy giant; after sampling our purchase, my children said that I could do better.”

Valerie started Zuzu Candies in February of 2012 in a rented commercial kitchen in Modesto, California. Over the past year she has refined her recipes, using local farmer’s market ingredients. She established the business and hired her good friend’s college-aged daughter to help with sales. Her chocolate does well at the local farmer’s market; she won five stars for her French Honey Caramels in a very competitive competition that got her noticed by a well-known market in Los Angeles.

Valerie has being doing everything by hand - a long and tiring process. She needs professional machinery to be able to produce enough chocolate and maintain proper temperature for her new, expanded markets. She would like to buy tabletop chocolate tempering machines that will allow her to produce up to 20 pounds of chocolate at one time.

Valerie is a single mother with three children. Her son Derek attends community college in Los Angeles and works part-time in the business, delivering chocolates to the local markets. She is requesting this loan because banks in her area do not make loans to startup businesses, so she turned to Fresno CDFI for financing.

If you would like to visit Zuzu Candies visit: www.zuzucandies.com

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