Q: Please tell us about your current job and what it entails. Tell us something about yourself and your lovely shop in Modesto, California.
A: We have owned and operated Beckles Candies and Gifts in Modesto, California, since December of 1988. For the most part, Jim and I oversee the daily operation of the shop, including making and selecting products, packaging, and interacting with the customers. We have known some of them since they were children! Although Jim is not at the shop every day, he is a very important part of the business and readily “on call!” Our daughter worked with us during her teenage years, and still covers for us in emergencies.
Beckles is an old time candy shop, selling chocolates, our on-site-made fudge, gourmet truffles, a variety of licorices and candy jar favorites, including a nice selection of sugar free products. We like to shop for things we believe our customer will enjoy. Custom packages are prepared in any gift item or container the customer selects and we pre-package in traditional and non-traditional containers. We also enjoy helping corporate clients and special event planners meet their unique needs and successfully stay within their budgets.
Q: How did you become so knowledgeable of food trends coming into the Winter Show? What professional food related publications, blogs, etc. do you read regularly?
A: I’m not at all sure I am that knowledgeable! I do try to listen, pay attention to food trends, and generally be aware of what is going on in our area. The California Central Valley is known for it’s agricultural success. Staying “green” and being self-sustaining are very important to us. Personally, I am quite health conscious, while still allowing myself the joys of treats, sweets, and special indulgences.
Several trade publications come across my desk regularly and I always find interesting material in them. Reading printed matter I can hold in my hands is more my style than reading screens! Although, blogs and Internet information is sometimes handy, indeed!
Q: When you go out to eat—do you go to the same place or do you explore other cultures and types of restaurants?
A: We have long time favorites and are basically traditionalists. However, new places must be investigated, and authentically prepared food of other cultures can be most interesting and even enlightening! I am more adventurous than Jim!
Q: What is your favorite type of food? Favorite meal/dish?
A: I like Salmon or Halibut, usually baked (sans oiliness)! Al dente steamed vegetables rank high on my list, as do fresh fruits and vegetables of most any kind. Southern barbecue, but not too spicy hot, is another favorite. And, of course great chocolate desserts!!! I use lots of nuts when preparing dishes and, although I like both, I go for weeks without eating beef or pork.
Q: How was your experience at the Winter Fancy Food Show? What was your favorite part?
A: Jim and I had a really good time. It was a quick, one-day trip from Modesto. I think our favorite part is anything that directly relates to our business, especially items we can almost link to specific customers. At times it becomes a game we play.
The displays were great, the vendors were most cordial, the products were varied, and the attendees were enthusiastic. While conscious of the economic situation, people were not overwhelmed with gloom! We mentioned that en route home.
Q: Have you ever been to a Summer Fancy Food Show? If yes, what are the major differences between the Winter Show and Summer Show?
A: We have never attended the Summer Show, but we are excited!
Q: Do you have any tips to offer for attending/walking the show?
A: I go with a plan, or at least a list of items about which folks have inquired or in which I have a particular interest. We usually go for the “What’s new “area first, then walk the rest of the show rooms. Some of the seminars would be helpful; however, we are always on a limited time schedule.
Q: What are you most excited about for the upcoming Summer Fancy Food Show in New York?
A: It is a new adventure! I’ve been told it is bigger than the Winter Show. It will be interesting to see how some of the winter focused items are doing, how they may have been adapted, and what’s new!
Q: Are you on any social media? (Twitter, Facebook or do you have a blog?) Website?
A: We do have a Beckles website. It is in a stage of reconstruction, but viewable. You can find it at BecklesCandiesandGifts.com