News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

November 16, 2008

Mother, daughter team in Dana flourish in the candy industry

DANA — In a little shop in a quiet corner of the Wabash Valley, the delectable smells of fudge and caramel, mint and espresso, waft through a 100-year-old home where two women are realizing an entrepreneur’s dream.

Brooke Schmidt and her mother, Donna Thompson, co-owners of Brooke’s Candy Co. in Dana, have seen their business triple in the past year, as both their online and storefront presences have captured the attention of chocolate lovers far and wide.

The business started with a small space at Dimestore Antiques in Clinton, where Thompson and Schmidt sold hand-made candies for about three years before deciding to give Brooke’s Candy Co. a home of its own.

In August 2007, the chocolatiers opened their retail location on Maple Street in Dana, operating out of the renovated front of the 1900-era plantation-style home where Thompson and her husband, Kent Thompson, have lived since 1984.

Kent Thompson did much of the renovation, transforming the old home into a landmark in Dana.

Before settling on the town of about 700 for the location of their retail business, Schmidt said they considered other small towns, including Rockville.

But Schmidt said she wants to see Dana grow and thrive again.

“Mom and Dad have always lived here,” she said. Since Schmidt and her husband Doug moved back to Dana in 2002, the town has struggled.

“There used to be a soda shop, and it was just a really neat little town,” Schmidt said. “We’ve seen so many buildings fall down or be lost — there was the fire — there’s just nothing left.”

Schmidt said she decided she wasn’t in a big hurry; she and her husband are raising sons Derek, 4, and Damien, 6, and she hopes to get both of them in school before she goes full-time.

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