CARY — Stacy Hill turned a creative, sweet hobby into her own business when she started Sugaree Chocolate Co. in 2011.
Hill, of Cary, had been making birthday-party favors, treats for a baby shower and peace sign chocolates for a school bake sale. When anyone hosted an event, Hill offered to make favors for free.
The recipients were enjoying her chocolates, and she loved fulfilling her creativity while discovering so many new shapes to make in various flavors and colors.
I started realizing that there are so many molds, and they are so fun, Hill said.
Now, Hill can be found most days in her kitchen listening to her favorite tunes the business is named for a Grateful Dead song while she makes custom confections to fit any occasion, theme or taste preference. Dark chocolate lollies, salted caramels, chocolate-covered Oreos, white chocolate roses, sherbet-flavored chocolate popsicles and even chocolate-covered bacon are among the many options.
I wondered at first if people would buy it and like it, Hill said. Everybody really seems to like it. That makes me happy, and I love doing it even more.
Q: What about creating chocolates made it worth starting your own business?
The instant gratification of making the candy and it comes out perfect. This is great because I use the molds and everything is perfect. Then I can fun up the colors, change the colors and do different things with the molds.
I have fun making it and seeing the different things I can make. I probably have 300 to 500 molds, so I can do a variety with what I have. But if I dont have a mold that works for a customers theme, I can order it and get it quickly. For example, I recently ordered sombrero molds to make chocolate sombreros for a swim team registration with a Cinco de Mayo theme.
Q: What is the most popular item that customers request?
The chocolate-covered Oreos are a big hit, and I have a lot of different molds for those. People always ask how I get the chocolate-covered Oreos so perfect. I just like them neat and tidy. They go into a mold with the chocolate. Then, once it sets, I add the detail mold in a different color.
Q: Do you have a favorite shape?
My favorite molds are the harder ones with more detail. They take longer to make, but then they come out and they are so cute. I love the watermelon, which could be great for a teacher gift or summer party.
Q: What is keeping you busy this season?
Right now graduation and teacher appreciation gifts are big. Customers can get chocolate-covered cookies with graduation caps or diplomas for graduation, or an apple with an A+ for teachers.
I have chocolate graduation hat boxes with the tassel on the lid that can be filled with anything. Im also making flip-flop candies for teachers gifts that would also be fun for a beach party or beach wedding.
Chocolates in the shape of a letter initial are a popular choice for weddings. I can do anything with an initial, such as adding shimmer and other details.
Im also working on orders for end-of-season sports team parties.
Q: Can chocolate lovers find your candies in local businesses?
Yes. My salted caramels are especially popular at Java Jive on Kildaire Farm Road in Cary. I also have a basket of treats to match each season in Cute Buttons Gift and Paper Boutique in downtown Cary, along with some wedding-favor confections throughout the store.
Q: What can people expect when they want to order chocolates from you?
Great custom orders, including custom tags on each item to match the theme. The orders are always ready on time. Guests are going to be thrilled. Theyre going to be so surprised that its so pretty, but it also tastes good.