Pennsylvania Candy-makers Send Sweet Delivery to Senator Toomey’s Desk

This week, the Pennsylvania Small Business Development Centers (SBDC), in partnership with five small businesses, made a special delivery to Senator Pat Toomey’s office in Washington, DC.
Pennsylvania SBDC State Director Christian Conroy met with Senator Toomey to present products from five Pennsylvania confectioners who utilized SBDC services to grow their businesses. Senator Toomey now occupies the “Candy Desk,” which he stocks with sweet treats from around the Commonwealth to share with colleagues in the Senate Chamber. It will now include candy from Bella Faccias and Nibbles & Bits of Scranton; Country Confections Chocolates of Canonsburg; Lang’s Chocolates of Williamsport; and Lux Artisan Chocolates of Pittsburgh.
“These five companies represent some of the thousands of manufacturers that the SBDC has assisted over the years to start and grow,” said Pennsylvania SBDC State Director Christian Conroy. “We are proud that Senator Toomey will be highlighting these small Pennsylvania businesses in his Candy Desk,” he added.
Each year, roughly one third of the businesses served by the Pennsylvania SBDC are in the manufacturing or retail sectors. The SBDC helps makers of all products from fabricated metal, to furniture, to food. Confidential, no-fee services available to business owners includes business planning, market research, identifying potential funding options for business growth, and finding new markets online, internationally, or with the government.
The SBDC can also assist in targeted services to assist retailers and manufacturers including product development planning and commercialization, understanding environmental regulatory requirements, business continuity planning, and succession planning.
The Senate Candy Desk began in 1965 when Senator George Murphy of California originated the practice of keeping a supply of candy in his desk for the enjoyment of fellow senators. In every Congress since that time a candy desk has been located in the back row of the Republican side, on the aisle and adjacent to the Chamber’s most heavily used entrance. Senator Toomey has occupied the desk since the Senate began session in January.
Products for Senator Toomey’s Candy Desk were provided by the following SBDC client businesses:
Bella Faccias
Scranton, PA (The University of Scranton SBDC)
Bella Faccias is the only unique gourmet chocolate company in Pennsylvania that prints photos, logos, messages directly onto chocolate. They specialize in personalized gourmet chocolate favors, Belgian truffles, cookies, gift baskets, chocolate covered strawberry/apple bouquets and platters for any event, occasion and budget. This small business has worked with The University of Scranton SBDC since 2010 to obtain a retail location, pass city health inspections, hold a business grand opening event, and most recently has been advised on website optimization, e-commerce, and social media strategies to grow their business.
Country Confections Chocolates
Canonsburg, PA (University of Pittsburgh SBDC)
Country Confections Chocolates are always delighted to help their customers to order the right products and make the perfect, customized gift. They offer a full array of gourmet popcorn, chocolate covered fruit including pears, apples, and delicious marshmallows, pretzels and s’mores. This business has worked with the University of Pittsburgh SBDC starting in 2008 for assistance with strategic business planning and financial analysis.
Lang’s Chocolates
Williamsport, PA (Bucknell University SBDC)
Lang’s Chocolates produces premium handmade gourmet chocolates that appeal to all the senses. They pride themselves on manufacturing their candies using traditional handmade methods, working with high quality ingredients, and combining them with care and attention to detail to produce a superior quality confectionary experience. This company has worked with the Bucknell University SBDC since 2014 when they utilized the center’s Engineering Development Services to develop a method of catching/cutting extruded caramel for candy production, which involved using 3D printing for testing and development.
Lux Artisan Chocolates
Pittsburgh, PA (University of Pittsburgh SBDC)
Lux Artisan Chocolates was founded in 2012 by chocolatiers Shelby Ortz and Chris Gibson. Their philosophy is to follow the artisanal practices of making everything by hand in small batches and without preservatives. Lux Artisan Chocolates excites the eye and intrigues the palate with works of art made from only the finest ingredients. Every piece is made by hand at their shop in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Lux Artisan Chocolates is committed to always using local ingredients when possible. They source out the finest quality local products to use in their premium chocolates. They sought out the assistance of the University of Pittsburgh SBDC in 2014 to map out potential new locations and strategies for growth.
Nibbles & Bits
Scranton, PA (The University of Scranton SBDC)
Established in 1985, Nibbles & Bits is directed towards the concept of gift giving through customized retail therapy of gourmet baskets and gifts. Visitors to their shop will enjoy hundreds of items, each hand selected to ensure only the tastiest & charming pieces from gourmet goodies to eclectic giftware. Owner Maggie Calpin has worked with the University of Scranton SBDC since 2010 to purchase the business, expand, move locations, and have a grand opening event. The business has grown to three full-time employees and has been honored as the 2012 Eastern Pennsylvania Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award through the U.S. Small Business Administration.
About Pennsylvania Small Business Development Centers (SBDC)
The Pennsylvania SBDC network is the only statewide, nationally accredited program that provides high quality one-on-one consulting, training and information resources to empower new and existing businesses. SBDC consultants work with entrepreneurs in confidential, individualized sessions to help them with a range of business issues including testing a new business proposition, shaping a business plan, investigating funding opportunities, and much more. The SBDC program is a public/private partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development and 18 universities and colleges across the Commonwealth. For more information on the Pennsylvania SBDC services and impact, please visit