Fudge is one of those tasty treats that you probably don’t think of too often. Your grandmother makes it at Christmas or you might have a bit once in-a-while when you’re walking the boardwalk at the beach on your summer vacation. Maybe you’ve even made a foray into the scenic hills of Gatlinburg, Tennessee, where legend has it the fudge flows like wine. But what if fudge was more than just seasonal or for vacations? Could fudge be a prime contender in your day to day life as a lover of great confectionary treats? Paul Stieffel believes it should be, which is why he opened Sweet Surrender Fudge here in Atlanta, GA.
Stieffel grew up in the Bronx burrough of New York City and moved to Georgia in 2002 for a job opportunity. He worked in the private sector for many years with a range of responsibilities that included sales, marketing, and ultimately: project management. “Being a project manager for my former company really prepared me with the skills needed to operate my own business,” explained Stieffel.
Stieffel is sure to give credit where credit is due when it comes to his origins in the fudge business. “It was my wife’s idea. She picked up on this paradox that fudge was a universally well-known item, but not sold everywhere. It was that insight and her support that encouraged me to leave my job and start making fudge in our kitchen. The rest is history.”
The pursuit of bringing quality fudge from an independently-owned small business to the masses is quite a task, but that’s not all Sweet Surrender fudge is about. Stieffel shared how his heart for people coming out poverty has been a big part of his life since the days of growing up in subsidized housing in New York. “Growing up in that situation has completely influenced the way I view people who are in need of work and opportunities.”
This is why Stieffel created the social aspect of his business. He hires directly from First Step Staffing, which is a staffing agency placing people transitioning out of homelessness into employment. Operations of Sweet Surrender are now in the kitchen of Project Community Connections, a local non-profit that works to rapidly rehouse people experiencing homelessness. In this way, Paul Stieffel is tightly tying his business plan to being about more than just making profit, but also to provide a serious benefit to many people who desperately need it. By providing employment at a fair-wage to those who are often overlooked in the job market, Stieffel is positioning Sweet Surrender fudge to be a business leader in the community that does not sit around complaining about problems in the city related to poverty and homelessness, but is actively being a part of the solution with good-faith and energy.
Sweet Surrender is currently in the closing days of a “Fudge-a-Thon”, looking to sell 10,000 cups of fudge leading up to National Fudge Day on June 16th (yes, it’s a real day).
If you’re interested in purchasing fudge for your business or personal use, you can get in contact via the Sweet Surrender Fudge’s webstore: Fudgeteria.