Amidst a sea of gourmet cupcakeries and trendy frozen-yogurt shops, the mother-daughter duo of Donna Gabrilson and Stacey Barnes have taken the desert’s dessert world by storm with their brainchild, Goodytwos Toffee. Launched in 2004, Goodytwos has expanded to include a storefront complete with a commercial-grade kitchen that is baking up seven traditional and contemporary toffee creations sure to please any palate. And rest assured, there’s no cookie cutting here, just handmade, hand broken and hand packaged product available in your backyard or shipped to your door anywhere in the world.
Like most company’s, Goodytwos started out small. Donna Gabrilson was ready to start fresh after a divorce and opted out of a career in Corporate America in order to go back to the kitchen, a place she connected with as a young girl. With a little encouragement from friends and family, Gabrilson began selling her traditional toffee recipe at Farmer’s Markets and relied on word of mouth from fans to spread the delicious gospel which lead to an upsurge in corporate gifting.
“It was huge and really the only way besides Farmer’s Markets to get the product out there. It was also a great way to build a market base,” Gabrilson said. With the addition of customizing colors and packaging, the brand was able to evolve and the natural spread of toffee goodness was able to reach the mouths of lucky recipients.
Barnes, who saw the potential in her mother’s company, came on in 2007. ” I was helping her every holiday season and saw the potential for growth and a larger picture for both of us,” said Barnes.
“And the brand really evolved from to two of us.” Gabrilson added. “I am more traditional and Stacey is modern/quirky and it’s those elements combined that really create the perfect balance. This idea really translates to our toffee, too.” This is referring to both that best-selling traditional toffee that started it all and the more contemporary takes you can find in store and online. Toffees like the Nutty Twist combine the flavors macadamia nuts with local premium liquor, Cruz Tequila for something entirely unqiue. The Five Alarm Beer Brittle also works in a Valley-based brew to keep the local spirit alive . San Tan Brewery’s Devil’s Brew kicks up this recipe with cayenne pepper and chili powder.
And despite the country’s bleak economic state, there is a small fact that can be seen with the growth of local businesses like Goodytwos, people are still willing to treat themselves, just in different ways.
“Our company grew 70% last year, so we found even with a downturn in the economy, people still want to treat themselves in little ways. Instead of going on a lot of trips or buying new cars, they are treating themselves to really good quality food,” said Barnes.
A notion that Gabrilson agrees with, “I think they find it comforting.”
Even with all of their success, certain reminders continue to bring the tag team to their roots. After a few crazy holiday seasons, they were able to hire staff and start attending Farmer’s Markets again. It was through the markets that they had the opportunity to be featured on the Food Network’s sister channel, The Cooking Channel, last fall.
“They approached Dee Block who has been running Farmer’s Markets in Arizona forever and asked her if she had a local company, food company, that started from scratch,” said Gabrilson. “She gave them our name and it was really a full circle thing because we would have never had that opportunity had we not started out the way we did.”
Be sure to check out Goodytwos Toffee online and in store (view photos in our gallery). They offer samples of all there seven anchor toffees and new creations as they arrive.