The Fudge Kettle Brings the Sweeter Things to Avon
Writer / Jamie Hergott
Photography Provided by Darren Boston
Andrea Snyder’s previous career as a family law paralegal meant she was dealing with people at the absolute worst time of their lives – divorce, custody battles and bankruptcy. Over the past year, she pivoted by quitting her job and opening the Fudge Kettle in Avon. She is now serving fudge, candy and smiles all over Hendricks County.
Fudge runs in her family though, so the transition wasn’t too difficult.
“I didn’t go into it blind,” Snyder says, telling the story of a fudge shop her grandparents owned in Brown County.
In fact, people usually know exactly what shop she’s talking about as she describes Ye Olde Sweet Shop, located in the Tucker Building, a two-story brown building with a glass elevator. The shop also had a gift store attached to it.
“A lot of people say, ‘Oh gosh, I’ve been there!’” Snyder says. “I worked there growing up, cutting fudge, making candy and ringing up customers.”
She explains how her grandpa made the fudge on a table at a window where customers could come watch. It was a sweet time in life, and the kind of work she craved again after 12 years as a paralegal.
“I was just getting burnt out,” Snyder says. “I was sitting at a desk all day, not seeing anyone except my co-worker and his family. I just felt like, ‘I’m in my 40s, and I feel like I need more. I should have more than this.’”
She began interviewing around at other offices, but she soon realized she was exchanging one desk and paycheck for another desk and another paycheck. She knew she could double her income if she worked downtown, but it wasn’t the money she was chasing. She put a pause on job searching and took a trip to Hawaii just before the pandemic hit, to do some soul searching.
Clarity came on the beach. She returned to the states and announced to her mother that she was going to start making fudge. Snyder lives with her husband and their three children, as well as her mother. Her mom joined forces with her to find the kettle she’d need to make the fudge just how her grandfather made it. During the pandemic, with nothing else to do, Snyder took her son and her mother on a 12-hour road trip to pick up a used kettle from a fudge shop that had closed down.
Snyder started the Fudge Kettle out of her own kitchen, and things took off from there. As administrator of the Facebook group “Ladies of Hendricks County,” she asked around about what flavors she should make. This group of more than 5,000 local women was receptive and excited about the idea.
“I had this captive audience,” Snyder says. “Everyone was at home, they were bored, and they were eating their feelings. They were working from home, so they had time to come pick up some fudge.”
Snyder began by making fudge in her kitchen, packing it in her dining room, and leaving packages on her porch for customers to pick up. She became known as the Fudge Lady around her neighborhood.
Since business was going so well, Snyder took on local farmers markets. Fudge business began to boom. As a full-time working mom in a pandemic, Snyder found it difficult to keep up with her paralegal work, teaching her son via e-learning full time, making fudge, as well as cooking, doing laundry and cleaning. Something had to give. She’d often work through the night, and over time began to grow physically ill from the weight of her roles.
“It was a huge leap, but I finally quit my job,” Snyder says. “My mom and husband definitely supported the decision and told me I needed a storefront. I remember my mom telling me, ‘You already have one foot out the door. Quit your job and chase your dream.’”
Starting a candy store wasn’t something Snyder really knew how to do, so she figured it out as she went. It involved lots of trial and error, such as figuring out how to pack for farmers markets in all kinds of weather, and managing lots of orders. She started looking at places to begin a storefront, finally landing at a place right next to Cabin Coffee Co. in 2020. It had to be redone, so Snyder added a kitchen and worked on design, cabinets and a logo. Snyder wasn’t sure she would support a storefront by simply selling fudge, but she began considering how her grandparents did it – by pairing their candy shop with a gift shop.
Deciding what to put in the shop was a lot of work, but part of the fun.
“My grandpa had saltwater taffy, so we had bins built for those,” Snyder says. “He also had Jelly Bellys in bulk, so we had to have those – and you can’t have a candy store without Pez.”
Other offerings include Boston Baked Beans, lemon drops, cinnamon balls, rock candy, and other nostalgic items.
As far as her main event, the fudge, she can make 300 or more flavors, always featuring 15 in her case, which she switches out on a regular basis. She always has peanut butter, chocolate, a peanut butter and chocolate combination, chocolate nut, maple pecan, chocolate amaretto, chocolate mint and many others. Some of her seasonal holiday flavors are cranberry nut (her grandpa’s recipe), eggnog, gingerbread, peppermint candy cane and pistachio.
“I’ve always been a creative person,” Snyder says. “I feel like I’ve suppressed myself for so many years. This is a woman-owned business, and I get to make all the decisions. I run the whole thing. Combine that with the creativity aspect, and I just love it.”
Snyder displays goods for many local small businesses and vendors as well, giving a purpose to local artisans during a pandemic. Her grandmother has passed away, but her grandfather absolutely loves that she’s carrying on the business.
Snyder enjoys the shift she’s made in her life, and sees purpose in her corner of Hendricks County.
“You don’t get people walking in here angry,” Snyder says. “They’re not fighting for their kids or bankrupt or losing everything. It could not be more different than what I was doing. It’s a 100% turnaround. I kick myself every day for not doing it sooner.”
The Fudge Kettle is located at 5530 East U.S. Highway 36, Suite 250 in Avon. For more info, visit thefudgekettle.com.