We had applied and were fortunate enough to be accepted to exhibit at the 33rd Winter Fancy Food Show in San Diego, CA. We arrived late in the afternoon and rushed to set up the booth. At some point the parents all had left to sign us in and get name badges, Brandon and I continued setting up the booth. Next thing we know, event security is in the booth asking to see our badges. We explained that our parents were registering and would return soon. He wasn’t satisfied and told us that this was an 18 and over event. We were only 16. The security guard escorted us out of the building and straight to our parents. He explained the situation and informed Brandon and I that we would be able to wait in the “kiddie room” during the event. Our parents explained that we were owners of the company and should be allowed to exhibit. A call to his boss led to another – the President of the event. He sympathized with our situation and then talked to his staff about what was to be done about this. We were led into a portable administration office for the event and waited while a hand-written release of liability was drafted. After signing, we were escorted back into the venue by the head of security. It turns out that Brandon and I were the youngest exhibitors in the Fancy Food Show history.
The following day was one that we’ll not soon forget. The Chief Operating Officer for Brown and Haley, John Melin, visited us at the booth to thank us for “respecting their copyright” and changing the name of the company from Brandini Roca to Brandini Toffee. He also gave us the history of Almond Roca and how it was made, all the while sampling our toffee. He liked it! We were also visited by the famed Hermond Goelitz Rowland, Sr. Chairman of the Board for Jelly Belly. He’s a great guy. Jamee Enstrom Simons from Enstrom’s Toffee visited us and we got to spend some time with all the great people at Guittard Chocolate including Kent Lyon and Chuck Howard, CEO Gary Guittard and his son Jesse.