For decades, Susannah Prater and her family have created delicious homemade chocolates, fudges, truffles, liquor-infused candies and mints for holidays, special events and to give as gifts. When friends started asking Prater to make her delicious creations so they could gift them, she decided to turn her passion into a business — Sue’s Creative Confections.
Since 2018, Prater and her husband, Ken, and her best friend and sister, Ruth Jarzynka, have been learning the basics of running a business while creating their delicious treats from an approved kitchen in a local church in their tiny village of Ithaca (near Wahoo). They don’t have a brick-and-mortar store, instead they rely on custom orders, their website and their growing list of wholesale retailers to sell their treats.
Sue’s Creative Confections joined GROW Nebraska last year and started selling a variety of treats on the Buy Nebraska website and store. After seeing the popularity of their homemade gourmet flavored marshmallows, Prater decided to focus most of their energy on the marshmallows.
They are selling between 100-150 bags of marshmallows per week now among all of their retail locations. Customers have dubbed them as #marshmallowqueens, and they are sticking with it.
“The marshmallows are really taking off,” Prater said. “They are probably what we are going to be most well known for.”
Prater said their homemade marshmallows are lighter in texture than store-bought marshmallows, and customers have said they don’t stick to dental work. The marshmallows are available in more than 20 exotic flavors, including homemade blue raspberry bubble gum, orange cream sickle, chocolate, crème de mint, caramel apple pie, creamy peanut butter, pecan pie, lemon meringue pie, key lime, pumpkin pie, cotton candy and strawberry cream. They are sold in bags of 10 marshmallows and retail generally around $5 per bag.
Their marshmallows also recently earned a spot on the shelves of another larger GROW Nebraska business, Baker’s Candies, whose owner is also serving as a mentor to Prater. Their first order of marshmallows for Baker’s sold out in just three weeks.
Prater recently purchased a chocolate fountain, and already a future bride has booked Sue’s Creative Confections to provide homemade marshmallows dipped in chocolate at her bridal shower and wedding. The flavored marshmallows have also been popular for gourmet s’mores combinations (think banana cream or Rum Chata marshmallows sandwiched between graham crackers and chocolate!). Sue’s also frequently sells out of Ruthie’s Mexican American hot chocolate with homemade vanilla marshmallows no matter what time of year it is.
This past February, Sue’s Creative Confections was honored to be invited to participate in the Chocolate Lover’s Fantasy event in Lincoln. Prater is thrilled to have her marshmallows on the shelves of Baker’s Candies, which sells its famous chocolates around the world.
Story by Kristine Jacobson, KRJ Public Relations, GROW Nebraska member
GROW Nebraska® Foundation is a statewide non-profit training and marketing organization. Serving over 400 Nebraska small businesses, the organization provides marketing opportunities, education, and training to launch and connect Nebraska businesses to the global marketplace. GROW Nebraska’s educational programs receive federal and state funding, along with generous support from foundations and individual donors.