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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Students’ toffee gets them far

    Tim Glass
    Sam Shumaker / Arizona Daily Wildcat Brandon Weimer, co-owner of Brandini Toffee, explains beginnings of the company near 3 Cheeses at the Student Union Memorial Center, Monday, Sept. 27, 2010. Weimer, a pre-business sophomore, started the company with a childhood friend while in high school.

    Brandon Weimer is as unassuming as his company’s product.

    The pre-business sophomore owns and runs Brandini Toffee with childhood friend Leah Post, a business sophomore at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.

    Their company began when Weimer and Post were sophomores in high school, and they wanted to go on a class trip to Italy. Their parents agreed to it, but said they would have to raise half the money themselves. They were too young to get jobs at the time, so they decided to sell toffee using a recipe Weimer received from a family friend, Doug Alvarez. Not only did they raise enough to pay for the $2,200-per-person trip in full within three months, they also had enough left over for spending money.

    Since then, Brandini Toffee has been featured on the Martha Stewart Show and Food Network’s Chef vs. City, and has received accolades from Oprah and the press in Weimer and Post’s hometown of La Quinta, Calif. The company won the 2008 SOFI award for “”Outstanding Chocolate”” from the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade, which Weimer says is the “”Academy Award”” in the food industry.

    “”We were the first almond toffee company in 50 years to ever get it. … We were the first people under 18 — at the time we were 18 — to ever be in the event and to ever win the award. For us, that was probably one of our biggest accomplishments. That’s above being on TV or anything because it shows you have a good product,”” Weimer said.

    The toffee consists of only four ingredients: sugar, butter, chocolate and roasted almonds. No preservatives are added, Weimer said.

    While Weimer and Post are in college, their families help run the business, their mothers handling the daily tasks.

    “”Without them we couldn’t do it. They understand we do need to go to school and the company will be there for us when we get back,”” said Weimer, who plans to introduce his company’s product to the UA and Tucson through fundraising events.

    When he isn’t on Skype with his family making business decisions, Weimer is currently taking classes on accounting and ancient Greek history. He said oceanography is his favorite class this semester.

    “”I like learning about Earth. I took biology, a lot of biology, in high school. It gives you fun facts … you get to learn how everything functions,”” Weimer said. In addition to business, he has had a lifelong interest in cooking and enjoys watching cooking shows.

    Weimer said his father is his biggest role model.

    “”He’s always had the biggest influence on the business. He is always out to see me succeed, whether it’s in school or whatever I want to do, he supports. In business, he has taught me everything I know so far,”” he said.

    Despite starting at the beginning of a recession, Brandini Toffee has been successful, according to Weimer, and hopeful entrepreneurs of all ages have approached him for business advice.

    “”We tell them anyone can do it,”” Weimer said. “”We’re not any bit above anyone. I’m not any smarter than anyone. You just have to put your time towards it and do it right.””

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