Kimberly Hondel didn’t need a chocolate river, a great glass elevator or an army of Oompa-Loompas to open her own candy factory.
She just needed the right experience, the right determination and a king-sized drive to succeed.
The Westerville resident is a single mother with a full-time job at the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, but she still found the time to found home-based Hondel Haus in 2004. She developed the plan that would eventually become Hondel Haus while working to earn her MBA from the Keller Graduate School of Management at DeVry University.
The desire to make the company a reality was driven by a desire to gain entrepreneurial experience and by Hondel’s deep, abiding love for cooking and baking.
“Every year for Christmas, I made a variety of candies for my family and friends,” she says.
Hondel hails from Kentucky where she “grew up helping (her) mother and grandmother make regional treats like pulled cream candy, molasses taffy and potato candy,” she says. She’s continuing the family tradition with her two sons, who are often involved in production – not to mention taste-testing.
Because all of the products are made in the Hondels’ kitchen, the boys are learning all about time management and responsibility.
Keeping the company close to home is important to Hondel, so she purchases the ingredients from independent stores such as Weiland’s Gourmet Market, Hills Market, Cake Craft Co. and Happy Hostess House Cake Decorators.
“I’m a proud ‘Ohio Proud’ member, so I support my fellow Ohio companies as much as possible,” Hondel says.
Hondel Haus goodies include Deer Candy (buckeyes), Doe Eyes (caramel dipped in chocolate), Fawn Eyes (chocolate-covered marshmallows), Squirrel Eyes (chocolate-covered espresso beans), Choco Cherries (chocolate-covered cherries) and gourmet buckeyes, which are similar to peanut butter truffles. All are sold individually or as holiday and special event packages, and are common party favors at weddings and tailgates, Hondel says.
While the company does not have a storefront, its treats are available at Celebrate Local at Easton Town Center, the Ohio Statehouse and the Ohio Historical Society. Goods can also be ordered by emailing Hondel at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Holly Butcher is a contributing writer. Feedback welcome at email@example.com.
Hondel Haus Buckeyes
2 lbs. peanut butter ½ lb. butter 1 Tbsp. vanilla 1 lb. flour 1 ¼ lbs. confectioner’s sugar 2-3 lbs. chocolate
Soften peanut butter and butter at room temperature until workable.
Mix peanut butter, butter, and vanilla until smooth. Gradually mix in dry ingredients until thoroughly blended. Mixture will be very thick, with the consistency of clay.
Chill peanut butter mixture at least two hours or until firm.
Form peanut butter mixture into balls about the size of a walnut and dip into melted chocolate. Set on wax paper until chocolate sets, then place in sealed container.
Yields approximately 160 buckeyes.