Sweetening Life in Owatonna
Life just got a lot sweeter in downtown Owatonna. Curly Girlz Candy has moved from Medford into 121 at West Main Street just off Central Park.
Owner Paula Trenda started the shop back in 2011 as a part-time venture out of the kitchen of Saint Mary’s. By 2014, she had moved to full-time candy making in the Medford Outlet Mall. But as business keeps expanding, so does her need for space, and the gleaming counters of Curly Girlz new home are just what the doctor ordered.
A new space isn’t the only change at Curly Girlz. Last August, the store premiered their new line of sugar-free candies for the health and diabetic conscious. After a sampling at the county fair, demands for the candy have been steadily increasing. Trenda says when they first introduced the candies, they didn’t tell people they were sugar-free and impressed customers had a hard time believing them.
The candies took two years to design, and were brought on by Trenda recognizing a hole in the candy market.
“I could not find a good sugar-free caramel or candy bar,” said Trenda. According to her, too many candies either over do it on the amount of sugar or use artificial sweeteners that aren’t much better. Trenda prides her sweets on their all-natural ingredients and says the change is timely, as both the FDA and the American Heart Association have recently lowered their recommendation for how much sugar people can healthily consume.
Fans of the regular sugar candies don’t need to worry. Curly Girlz continues to sell its classic candies as well. Either way people’s taste buds lean, the orders keep coming in. Trenda’s personal favorite is the turtle caramels, but people also go nuts for their sea salt caramels and nut-rolls.
Sitting on Trenda’s shop counter was a stack of boxes, outgoing orders, that Trenda noted were all out-of-state shipments. This little candy store is taking off as businesses and customers from Texas to New York request these specialty chocolates. The high demand is in part from the store’s online presence. Trenda says while they maintain a store front, most of their orders come in over the web.
It’s quite a shift from when Trenda first started working in food. Trenda formally got her start working in a restaurant with her godmother, but her love of making sweets started long before that. Her neighbor growing up would make different treats for the holidays. Trenda says that’s when her interest was first sparked. She carried the spark with her throughout her adult life.