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Last Update: Monday September 20, 2021

Key Idea: Customize

When you are inspired by your customers' imaginations, there is no limit to the opportunities for creativity and innovation.

Key Question:


Customization is a key differentiator between small and large businesses. Small businesses make what the customers want and when they want it, while  big businesses focus on offering a one-size-fits-all solution.  Truly special products create the  one-of-a-kind buying experience that  makes small businesses unique. Al is smart to grow the business by expanding the custom mold division.

Q:  Why is there great potential in customized molded chocolate products?

A:  Made-to-order products that can be duplicated easily have high profit margins. For example, once the swan mold is made, the chocolate makers can use the same mold over and - but only make it when ordered. There is no inventory sitting on a shelf waiting to sell.

Also, the molded chocolates are less labor intensive than the hand-dipped products, but their uniqueness keeps the price up. Since the equipment is in place, the only thing that holds back this division is imagination. Molds can be made to replicate anything!

Many companies who make products to order require at least ½ payment in advance, which is great for cash flow. In the retail environment, Al has to make the chocolates and hope they sell.

Think about it

Can you earn more profits with more made-to-order products and services?  What type of customization do you do now and what could be done in the future with more technology, equipment and talent?

Clip from: Angell & Phelps

Daytona Beach, Florida: As a boy, Dr. Alvin Smith would go into the local chocolate shop, Angell & Phelps, just to smell the candy -- he couldn't afford to buy any.  
That all changed in 1983; Dr. Smith bought the company. 
While he continues to practice medicine as a cancer specialist, his son Al, runs Angell & Phelps day-to-day. They have expanded from one location to four and do extensive mail-order.

Dr. Alvin Smith said, "This is potentially a business that could be grown a lot more. But you'd have to put preservatives in the candy. Once you put preservatives in the candy, it will destroy the quality of the candy; it will change its taste."

Each piece of candy is a little piece of artwork created by hand and made from recipes that haven't changed since 1925. 
Even though they have grown the business, this small business has a key philosophy to stay small. The drive to get bigger and bigger is not a goal of all business owners; and that focus -- to stay reasonably small, especially given the dynamics within our global economy, may be quite wise.

Angell & Phelps

Al Smith, Owner

154 South Beach Street
Toll Free: 1-800-969-2634
Daytona Beach, FL 32114

Visit our web site:

Office: 386-252-6531

Business Classification:

Year Founded: 1983


These nuts will be coated in chocolate and the first step in doing that is to put a bottom coat on.

HATTIE: Oh, all right. So...

AL: And what she's doing here, she's pressing the nut down and it's getting a bottom.

HATTIE: (Voiceover) Angell & Phelps employs 30 people full time and another 30 during the busy Christmas to Valentine's season.

Are these a popular nut in your--do people buy a lot of Brazil nuts dipped in chocolate?

AL: Yes, Brazil nuts are very--well, they're not as popular as cashews or almonds, but they are very popular.

HATTIE: Is this a singular...

(Voiceover) All the candy making is done here in the back of the Daytona Beach retail location, but they sell through the mail and in retail stores located in De Land, Ormond Beach and New Smyrna Beach.

AL: The difference from here to here is that the piece now, after having the bottom on it, will go through this chocolate waterfall. Cindy here is now putting on an insignia so that we will know what the piece is.

HATTIE: (Voiceover) Angell & Phelps has perfected the art of making molded chocolate and they can basically make anything you can imagine.

Unidentified Woman #4: These are marbleized shells that we do.

HATTIE: Marbleized. Now how does the marbleize happen?

Woman #4: Well, we take the milk chocolate, put it in and let it cool and fill it with the white, scrape it, put it on the line, down it comes.

HATTIE: And this...

Woman #4: But see, it's the white underneath.

HATTIE: And how long have you been here?

Woman #4: Going on four years.

HATTIE: It's my understanding that you invented this particular chocolate and the leaves as well.

Woman #4: No, those.

HATTIE: You invented the leaves.

Woman #4: More or less, yes.

HATTIE: Now how did you get the idea?

Woman #4: Just looks like a fall leaf, the coloring.

HATTIE: But you thought of it.

Woman #4: Well, yeah. They had baskets and they needed something to go in them, so that matched the fall baskets.

HATTIE: OK. How did we get this color happening? Is this white chocolate with color in it?

Woman #4: That's food coloring, yes.

Same with the turkey, different colors. We sell a lot of these.

HATTIE: Let's talk about the evolution of what you are making. Why a swan? Why baby shoes? Why the golf bags? Why the golf balls? Talk to me about that.

AL: Right. It--you know, customization is really where I think we're headed with this whole--with business in general and particularly in the molded items, and it allows us to be able to customize things. You know, weddings are--like, the swans are very good for weddings, so we'll be able to go out and market ourselves to the brides that are ready to get married. And other things like that, we're able to come in and customize things that are unique. And we do chocolate business cards.

Unidentified Woman #5: All this frosting is is regular cake frosting and we take a candy color to add to the frosting to match that to the business card they sent us.

HATTIE: So you can match anyone's business card...

Woman #5: Right, to their colors.

HATTIE: You put it down and then you put the frosting through and it works just like ink.

Woman #5: OK. And your frosting--you line up your card, lay it down, put your frosting on your screen--this frosting is kind of thick.

HATTIE: Just like cake.

Woman #5: Then you swipe it off. And it's transparent onto your card, as you can see some of it did.

It's just like ink, but only you're using cake frosting.

HATTIE: I want to make sure before I do this for my company that this tastes...

Woman #5: Right.

HATTIE: Is it OK for me to taste this?

Woman #5: Sure can.

HATTIE: OK. This isn't wax. This is for real.

Woman #5: No. Take a big bite.

HATTIE: It's chocolate. It's too sweet.

Woman #5: It is.

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