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Richardson's Candy House named Small Business of the Year

A candy maker whose owners increased sales by 400 percent over 6 years has been named the W. Curtis Strube Small Business of the Yrea by the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce. Mike Smith has the story:

Richardson's Candy House received the coveted award at a noon luncheon Wednesday May 4th.

Started 35 years ago in a quaint rock building in Redings Mill, Mo., Richardson's is known for hand-dipped chocolates based on original recipes. Terry and Pat Hicklin bought the business in 1999, and their revised business plan led to a 400 percent increase in sales. The Hicklins expanded product lines, developed new sales avenues and increased national exposure through a Candy House website.

The Springfield store, opened in 2002 in Parkcrest Shopping Center, quickly jumped to number one in sales, passing the Carthage and Joplin shops. The Hicklins'daughter, Bonnie, is Springfield store manager.

The Chamber's award program also recognized four other small businesses as finalists for the award. They are Anderson Engineering, Inc., The Carpet Shoppe, Nixon & Lindstrom Insurance and PaperWise, Inc.

An independent panel of judges based its selection on staying power, response to adversity, innovative products or services, business philosophy and contributions to the community.

The annual award is named for the late director of the Breech School of Business at Drury University, Dr. W. Curtis Strube. He was instrumental in the creation of many programs for small businesses, among them the Small Business Advisory Council of the Chamber.

The award celebrates the importance of small business. In the Springfield area, 97 percent of businesses have fewer than 100 employees.