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Business Spotlight

Donells Candies

(click for larger version)
07/01/2008 - It smells so good when I walk into Donells Candies in the Atrium Plaza. The aroma invites me in. The displays draw me farther in. And the flavors keep me there.

Donells has been making homemade candy in Casper since 1956. Their reputation for quality has grown so much over the years that, not only is Donells a favorite of those of us who live here, but we've sent Donells candy as gifts to those we love around the country for so long that those people are now calling the shop or getting on the website and ordering shipments for themselves. And they're giving some of those candies as gifts and then those people... Well, you know. Word-of-mouth.

Last summer, Donells, owned and operated by the very innovative Stepp family, added homemade ice cream to its menu. And I mean homemade. They don't order in a pre-made base and then finish making it into ice cream. They make it, just like their candies, completely from scratch with quality, fresh ingredients using recipes they've created themselves.

Don and Elma Stepp started their candy business in Colorado in the late 1940's. A few years later, wanting to be near family, they moved to Casper and opened their candy shop here. The shop's name was created by combining Don and Elma's names and then adding an "s," for their last name. And viola: Donells.

Mike Stepp (click for larger version)
Don and Elma's children grew up in the shop, helping mom and dad to make the delicious, carefully-created confections until gradually they also learned the art and science of candy making. In fact, their son Mike remembers, back when he was seven or eight years old, throwing bits of chocolate into the pot while Dad stirred. In 1995, Mike began running the business himself. His own four children, now grown, learned the business in just the same way and now, with the arrival of Mike's one-year-old grandson, it looks as if the family business might continue into a fourth generation.

Some of Donells best sellers are their Pecan Pixies, English Toffee, and homemade fudge. Their famous caramel is from a recipe created by Elma in the 1950's. Oh, and did I mention Donells makes its own flavored popcorn? It's another item that is so beloved that one of their customers drives up once a month from Cheyenne just to buy a fresh supply. She says she tells her family that she's coming up to see them but, the truth is, she's really coming for Donells popcorn.

So, there are homemade chocolates, other confections, flavored popcorns, and ice cream in a variety of flavors lovingly created from scratch by people you know right here in Casper. Confections with fame for flavor and freshness that has grown beyond our hometown's borders. How blessed we are to have such delightful treats hand-made and sold right here in our town, and by such a great family, wanting nothing but the best for our taste buds.

Donells Candies is located in the Atrium Plaza on the corner of Wolcott and East 2nd in downtown Casper. Their hours are 9:30 am 6:00 pm on Monday and Tuesday and 9:30 am 7:00 pm from Wednesday through Saturday. Their phone is 234-6283 and their website is www.donellschocolates.com.

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