No Dragons, but sweet offers for Sooke business

Fudge In A Round shutout in Dragons’ Den, but business opportunities rolling in for Sooke company

Paul and Kelly DeRocco are discovering sweet success without the Dragons. Yet, it’s the help of the Dragons that is the source of their good fortune.

A little explanation is in order.

The DeRoccos, owners of the Sooke-based Fudge In A Round, appeared on the popular CBC television show Dragons’ Den two weeks ago, but walked away without a penny from the Dragons.

But the DeRoccos were smiling before, during, and after the show aired. So something must be up, right?

“If you have watched our pitch, your probably wondering why we left like kids in a candy store,” said Kelly DeRocco.

RELATED: No fudging these dragons

The reason is simple.

“Remember, they edit our one-hour appearance on the show down to seven minutes, so they cut and paste to what makes a TV worthy pitch,” said Kelly DeRocco.

Throughout the show veteran Dragon Jim Treliving remained quiet for most of the pitch, only to ask one question in the aired segment.

“I’m racking my brain, trying to think how I can help you out,” Treliving said.

Later, Treliving gave the Sooke couple the name of a Canadian airline that would be interested in the product. The DeRoccos won’t say which airline it is yet, as negotiations are ongoing, but gave a hint: “it’s a very friendly airline.”

But the good news doesn’t stop there for Fudge In A Round.

The DeRoccos also received phone calls and offers from other business looking to sell the fudge. Next week a chain store in Alberta, Mark’s Market, will begin selling the fudge as will Sidney Home Hardware, and talks have begun with the Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt chain, based in Surrey.

“We did not go [to the Dragons Den] feeling that our fudge was a big investment. We know that for business people like the Dragon’s we are considered small fry in the ocean, but we know we are the best fudge out there,” said Kelly DeRocco.

“To be able to spend time with the Dragons for one hour and get their views on our product was worth the journey alone.”

RELATED: Sooke couple brings fudge to the stars

The idea for Fudge In A Round was born in 2008 when Kelly DeRocco bought some chocolate-coconut fudge and fell in love with the flavour.

A few months later, long after the fudge was long gone, she and Paul went in search of the same flavour, only to find that the local outlet which they’d bought their original fix of fudge didn’t sell the flavour.

Not to be deterred, Kelly DeRocco asked Paul, who is the cook in the family, if he could make some at home, and he, ever game for a challenge, gave it a try.

After some experimentation, they came up with what they considered to be a superior version of the flavour and shared it with friends and co-workers. More flavours followed, and soon the couple was selling its fudge at the Sooke Christmas Fair, the Sidney Night Market, the Inner Harbour in Victoria and farmers’ markets.

The product is unique in part because the couple packages it in sealed round containers, and because the product is not dried out and cut into squares, it retains a soft, creamy texture and isn’t as sweet as its square-cut crystallized sugar counterparts.

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