Cloud 9 Artisan Marshmallow New Kitchen:
The time has come to establish our own commercial kitchen. I started production of marshmallows in a home kitchen, then moved to a community commercial kitchen, rented by the hour. Sales levels and need for more use of the kitchen justify set-up of our own full-time kitchen. This project involves the installation of a very basic kitchen in a small commercial space. Nothing fancy – just a functional, decent quality, efficient, safe and sanitary marshmallow “bakery.” The main expenses are building preparation, induction cookers, preparation surfaces, packaging stations, mixers, utensils, pots and pans and sanitizing equipment. Estimated total cost is $6,000. Nothing exciting or fluffy about this side of Cloud 9 – but essential for meeting the growing demand for more Cloud 9 Artisan Marshmallows!
Who we are:
Cloud 9 Artisan Marshmallows is a fine gourmet marshmallow manufacturer/wholesaler confectionary. Cloud 9 was born in a home kitchen in Gulfport, Mississippi. When gift recipients responded so enthusiastically to the first holiday gifts of the unique almond marshmallows, Cloud 9 owner and founder, Sharon Hatch Hodge thought she was on to something. And as a “recovering attorney” with a science and business background – this was the first sign it was time to begin a new course. Cloud 9 presents the light fluffy creations, always with a positive perspective.
One to rarely march to the beat of others’ drums, Sharon took the basic marshmallow recipe in several directions and developed the Cloud 9 lines of fresh, made-from-scratch gourmet marshmallows. Starting out as a cottage industry, Cloud 9 was able to test the market’s reaction to numerous recipes at the Pass Christian Farmers’ Market (in nearby Pass Christian, Mississippi). When she hit on the recipe for Sea Turtles (Salted Caramel Marshmallow with Roasted Pecans and Dark Chocolate) – and she sold out in one hour – she took it as another sign she had a seriously viable commodity. One taste and customers were making special trips to the farmers’ market for more Cloud 9 marshmallows. And following a personal goal to no longer “work for the man”, Sharon took the steps to put Cloud 9 into bona fide commercial production.
Cloud 9 Inspirations:
Cloud 9 is inspired by the culinary history and the natural and cultural features of Mississippi, and particularly coastal influences. We are delighted to hear which flavors our customers like best and how they like to enjoy them. Only the flavors that we love make it to the retail counter – the customers’ enjoyment is the essential ingredient and inspiration in the further development and production of the Cloud 9 product line.Cloud 9 has developed several exclusive signature flavors, working with proprietors to reflect the shop or café, and capturing their unique offerings in a fresh marshmallow.
Delighted to spread the Cloud 9 Joy:
Cloud 9 commercial development has grown quickly – and the most delightful rewards are the enthusiastic customers and wonderfully kind retailers who carry the products. The most common reaction is a head-tilting, eye-rolling “Wow!” Other unsolicited comments include:
“Best marshmallows I have ever had!” – Shane
“The lemon is delicious.” – Karen
“They're all delicious!!” – Lyndsey
“I can't stand peeps & I'm not a fan of those commercial marshmallows from the grocery store either....but these taste nothing like those! They are so delicious!! Like little yummy clouds of deliciousness. They definitely live up to their name!” – Michelle
“Love, Love, Love these they are fantastic!!! They are also created by a local lady!!!” – Alice
“Sea Turtle flavored artisan marshmallows – Seriously the best thing I’ve ever put in my mouth.” – Chris
Cloud 9 marshmallows are usually found right near the check-out register – and salesclerks’ endorsements help introduce the fresh, handcrafted marshmallows to new customers. The reception we’ve gotten has been so very heartwarming. Cloud 9 can be found at a variety of fine gift shops, delicious local eateries, visitors’ centers and coffee cafes – and now even a wine café. We have expanded from along the Mississippi Coast to nearby New Orleans and Slidell, Louisiana and to a chain of coffee shops in Jackson, Mississippi. We are expanding to a few more select locations in upstate Mississippi. We are holding off from online sales at this time due to cost control and logistics limitations.
More about Cloud 9 Artisan Marshmallows at:
Risks and challenges
The bulk of Cloud 9 sales is through retail outlets. Therefore the product is made with great care in a kitchen inspected by the Mississippi state Department of Health. We have received review and preliminary approval of the kitchen location with a very short list of modifications required (e.g., 3 compartment sink for proper sanitation) for compliance and final permit approval.
And as with all businesses operating in the city of Gulfport, MS, safety and zoning compliance is required. We have already received review and preliminary approval from the city and completed required improvements for the permit.
- (30 days)