There was never a question about what life path or career trajectory Pete Behringer would take. He was born into the chocolate business, and his mother was the owner of a successful candy store business with 32 locations and her own production facility. After college, Pete opened up his own candy store, and Sweet Pete’s became known in the Jacksonville, Fla. area for his colorful, handmade candy masterpieces.
Sweet Pete’s was nestled in a small community that does not see a great deal of traffic. Pete started the business with very little money. The location was the best option under the circumstances and turned into a thriving candy shop with hundreds of product options that are beloved by the locals and any visitors who happen by.
The biggest issue holding Sweet Pete’s back from expanding its scope and increasing profits is his business partner, Dane Baird, who owns the property and half of the business. Pete’s relationship with his partner was strained, as Dane did little other than sitting back and expecting to make money. Pete and his wife, Allison, made several futile attempts to buy Dane out of his business interests in Sweet Pete’s. So they went to The Profit to see if Marcus Lemonis could help resolve the situation with Dane and take the business to the next level.
Sweet Pete’s on The Profit
The Profit Season 2 Episode 6
The kitchen at Sweet Pete’s underwhelms Marcus. It is small and cluttered. There are no freezers or storage units. Marcus cannot see how business is run effectively from this space and gets the feeling from the very start that any deal would have to include a new location with more space to comfortably and cost-effectively house a proper kitchen and inventory.
The shop is quickly filled with youngsters who settle in for a candy-making demonstration by the colorful and energetic Pete, who teaches holds regular classes to teach kids how to pull taffy and make fancy chocolate creations. Pete charges $15 per person and costs him $2 for the demonstration, a profit margin that impresses Marcus and has him thinking of ways to expand the idea.
Sweet Pete’s is making $420,000 a year, but Pete is taking home only $10,000 of that due to his business relationship with Dane, who only serves to increase the tension when he does the show. Pete and Dane are barely on speaking terms and cannot seem to communicate civilly to each other.
It does not take long for Marcus to realize the first order of business would be to do whatever is needed to sever ties with the toxic Dane. Pete is incredibly passionate about his business and his customers, and Dane is obviously holding him back.
Marcus asks for 50% of the business in exchange for $750,000, a third of which would go to paying the working staff, and the rest would go to facilitating a new location. Marcus was willing to give back Dane his initial $2,000 plus 5% interest. Though he balks at the deal, claiming he deserves more, Dane ultimately realized he does not and takes the deal.
Update: Sweet Pete’s After The Profit
There was no question in Pete’s mind that he was doing what he was meant to do. Candy making is supposed to be fun to make people happy. Nothing made Pete happier than to see the joy of kids of all ages enjoying his candy creations and to see the wonder when sitting down to create their own candy. Getting his start in the business required sacrifices that he hoped would pay off in the long run. The most significant sacrifice had been going into business with a partner who lacked the passion and enthusiasm for the product and was unwilling to do everything it took to make the business a success. Dane was bringing Pete down in every aspect. It was frustrating when Dane was not present in the daily operations and infuriating when he did show up. He wasn’t willing to bow out and wouldn’t contribute in any meaningful way.
Pete was trapped, and as much as the money Marcus invested in Pete and his business, helping him to strike a deal that forever cut ties with Dane was the most impactful change to the future of the company and the long-term happiness of Pete and his sweet adventure.
Free of the shackles of Dane’s attitude and idle approach to the business, Pete and Allison were able to dive into the candy business with full force and enthusiasm, sharing their love of chocolate and candy with the entire community and beyond. With Marcus’ help and financial support, Sweet Pete’s has become a beautiful, successful, and highly regarded family business inspired by Pete’s love of making people happy and creating delicious candy.
Pete has continued his tradition of bringing customers into the process with a regular candy, making classes, parties, and field trips that keep candy fans of all ages coming back for more. Sweet Pete’s offers a full product line featuring staples like sea salt caramels, cherry cordials, toffee, and rocky road, as well as gluten-free and vegan options and a wide selection of retro candy options.
Marcus was true to his word, and Sweet Pete’s Candy Shop opened a sparkling new location at the Historic Seminole Club in Jacksonville, Florida. He paid for building renovations that included more room for Pete’s candy, making classes, and a proper kitchen. Sweet Pete’s because so successful so fast that they bought the building next door to expand production capabilities.
Sweet Pete’s has become a Jacksonville tourist destination and one of the biggest and most successful candy stores in the United States. Pete opened locations in Key West, Florida, and Lake Forest, Illinois. Plans are underway for expansion to Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Atlanta. Don’t despair if you don’t live near those areas, as Sweet Pete’s also has a website where customers can ship candy all across the country.
Sweet Pete’s empire continues to grow after acquiring Key West Key Lime Pie Company and partnering with Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlour, two of Marcus’ other success stories from The Profit.
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