Fondarific, a local company founded four years ago by Laura Darnall and Lois Judy, has been named one of two small businesses in the state to receive a grant from the Sam’s Club Giving Program and SCORE.
Darnall and Judy, whose Garden City company produces and distributes a line of moldable icings for decorating cakes and other confections, will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to a special two-day educational event, sponsored by SCORE, to help them implement strategies to grow their business.
The grant will also fund three regional educational workshop events in 2013 hosted by SCORE for any small business in the region.
In addition to the training, Fondarific will receive a $1,000 Sam’s Club gift card.
“Working with SCORE has provided a strong foundation to help our business grow,” Judy said. “The gift card from Sam’s Club, which helps us with such essentials as office and cleaning supplies, and the additional training will really help us take Fondarific to the next level.”
The latest honor is not the first for Darnall and Judy.
Earlier this year, the self-described soccer moms who parlayed an edible preschool art project into an international business were named the U.S. Small Business Administration’s 2012 Georgia Small Business Persons of the Year.
“Our collaboration with SCORE allows Sam’s Club to provide the tools and goods that small business owners need to enter the New Year with increased confidence and optimism,” said John Boswell, senior vice president of marketing, member insights and e-commerce for Sam’s Club. “Every day our associates strive to positively impact the lives of small businesses that are so important to the fabric and success of our country.”
The 102 businesses, two in each state and the District of Columbia, were selected by SCORE based on each business’ need and commitment to ongoing learning and growth.
SCORE will utilize the grant from Sam’s Club to sponsor a two-day “High Speed Growth Seminar” in January especially for the 102 winners. The special training program will feature key executives and workshops on attracting customers, branding, online marketing and developing a sales plan.
The grant will also fund continued regional and local training for these businesses with SCORE mentors.
“Small businesses truly are the backbone of our economy, particularly during lean times,” said SCORE CEO W. Kenneth Yancey, Jr. “With the support of Sam’s Club this holiday season, these small businesses will be in a position to take the critical next step in their evolution.”
THE FONDARIFIC STORY
Laura Darnall, a former teacher at Southwest Elementary, and Lois Judy, a former registered nurse at Candler Hospital, met on the sidelines of their daughters’ soccer games some six years ago and became fast friends.
When Darnall brought a sample of the Candy Clay Dough she had developed for her students’ art projects to one of the soccer parties, Judy urged her to expand and market her creation. Working together, with Darnall creating the product and Judy handling the business end, Fondarific — a line of moldable icings for decorating cakes and other confections — was launched in 2008 in a small utility building in Darnall’s backyard.
Within a month, the product won the confections category at the Flavor of Georgia Contest in Atlanta. Last summer, the company purchased and renovated a 10,000-square-foot manufacturing facility off Chatham Parkway. Today, with the help of more than two dozen full-time employees, the multimillion-dollar company ships its flavored fondant across the country and around the world.