Bringing sweetness to the area
by Amy Doeun
Keith Olson and Scott Stenger have been friends for a long time.
For the last three years, they have also been business partners working to bring a little sweetness to east central Minnesota and surrounding areas. It all started about 15 years ago when Stenger’s mother opened a coffee shop in Tanger Mall, “right in the corner where North Country Coffee is now,” Olson said.
Olson said Stenger and his mother started selling fudge at their shop.
“They learned how to do it and worked to perfect the recipe,” he said.
Stenger ended up working at the coffee shop for about 15 years even after his mother had sold the shop.
Then in 2013, Olson and Stenger were having a conversation. Stenger was talking about how much money they made selling the fudge in the coffee shop and how much money he made an hour. After several conversations, the two decided to open their own fudge business, Oh Fudge!
“We don’t have a location, but that is in the works for the next few years,” Stenger said. “We rent a local area kitchen, have it inspected and licensed.”
Stenger and Olson rent it on an as-needed basis to fill wholesale orders.
How often they rent “varies for our busy time of year; it could be once a month up to three times a month,” Stenger said.
They sell their fudge wholesale to stores like Burnett Dairy, Rush City Bakery (seasonal for the holidays), Chris’ Food Mart in Sandstone and Pine City, Aamodt’s Apple Orchard in Stillwater and more. They also sell at local festivals like the Almelund Apple Festival.
The fudge is also available for fundraisers.
The duo has 62 varieties of fudge with unique flavors, such as caramel apple and pumpkin pie.
“It is mostly trial and error (creating a new flavor); someone will suggest something to us and we will play around with it until it works,” Olson said.
Olson gives the credit for the ample offerings to Stenger.
“He has been perfecting his recipe for 17 years,” Olson said.
When asked what his favorite recipe was, Olson said: “Up until a couple months ago I would have said peanut butter chocolate. That is a good standby, but now my new favorite is lemon meringue. But our best seller is dark chocolate caramel salt.”
What varieties they make depends on customer orders. They have even experimented with sugar-free fudge.
Over the next couple of years, they hope to add more stores to their lineup and have some of their seasonal vendors sell year-round, including Rush City Bakery. They also hope to set up a “brick and mortar” store.
They would love for their retail store to be in Rush City but are open to all options. They have plans to increase the size of their business and are looking to take on new customers.
For more information on Oh Fudge! find them on Facebook.