WILBRAHAM – Local business Pop’s Biscotti & Chocolates was recently named quarterfinalist for the 2015 Independent We Stand Small Business of the Year Award, which features contestants from across the nation.
Jeff Wingate, co-owner of Pop’s Biscotti & Chocolates, told Reminder Publications his business is one of the top 25 finalists out of 360 that were nominated for the award.
He added approximately 22,000 votes have been casted for contestants in the competition thus far.
Maria Ferraro Wingate, Jeff’s wife and co-owner of the business, said they started Pop’s Biscotti & Chocolates three years ago after working at a retail store for more than 20 years before it closed.
“We started doing craft shows and people said, ‘Where’s your shop?’” she explained. “We took out all our money from [our] 401k and all that stuff and we started the business.”
Maria said the business is primarily family operated – Jeff bakes at least 30 flavors of biscotti, she makes homemade chocolates, and their teenage son Corey helps run the shop at 2341 Boston Road.
Jeff said the business has found success since it began – it’s won four MassLive Reader Raves awards and Maria was named one of the top 25 Women to Watch in Western Massachusetts for the culinary arts category by Western Mass Women Magazine.
He added if the business wins the Independent We Stand award, the couple would receive a $5,000 cash prize and a website redesign.
“The website is what we’re really going after because it’s so expensive to have someone do it and with that it would help service our customers better,” Maria said. “It bring us to a whole new level for our five-year goal. The five-year goal is to eventually open another shop.”
Jeff said a website redesign would allow them to increase the business’ online sales.
“They’d [be sent] over the country instead of just local,” he noted.
Maria said they aim to take the business to a national level.
“It’ll always be handmade because I think people like the quality of handmade [treats] better than they do [with those made in factories],” she explained.
Specialty chocolates include a peanut butter pyramid with the business’ signature peanut butter cream, salted caramels with black lava sea salt and turtle turtles – chocolate caramel turtles sculpted to look like a turtle that can be made with various types of chocolates and nuts, Maria said.
The biscotti flavors change seasonally, Jeff said. Currently the business is offering holiday specialty biscotti such as ginger bread, eggnog, and sugar cookie flavors.
He added that they make hundreds of pounds of biscotti and chocolate on a weekly basis.
Maria said Pop’s Biscotti & Chocolates products are available wholesale at other locations, including Randall’s Farm in Ludlow, Durocher Florist in West Springfield and Hidden Treasures in Agawam.
Pop’s Biscotti & Chocolates is also hosting a Toys for Tots fundraiser for Baystate Children’s Hospital until mid-December, Jeff said.
Individuals who choose to donate will receive a raffle ticket for each toy that they donate, he noted. The raffle prize is $250 worth of chocolate for the year.
For more information or to vote for Pop’s Biscotti &?Chocolates visit www.independentwestand.org/indies/profile.php?id=60.