"There is plenty of art in Matlacha but no edible art," said William Tidball, a partner in Matlacha's newest store. "After a lot of consideration, we (William and partner Carlos Gomez) decided to open a candy store. Not boxed candy we purchase and resell, but homemade fudge."
CW Fudge Factory officially opened Dec. 21 just in time for the Christmas rush.
Tidball's family has been spending time on Pine Island and Matlacha for three generation He and Gomez have been traveling to and from Orlando, where they both worked, for five years.
Carlos Gomez and William Tidball inside their new CW Fudge Factory in Matlacha.
"Every Friday night around midnight we would be driving through Matlacha to our home in Bokeelia," Gomez said. "And then late Sunday afternoon, driving back to Orlando where we would work another week so we could afford to come back. One day we thought 'wouldn't it be great to live here full time?' So we started to try to figure out how we could make that happen."
Once the decision was made, each had to decide how to make a living in their new home.
Tidball worked for Disney as a retail designer and Gomez was working for a bank. The decision was made to create their own jobs. The original idea was to open a cupcake store but the islands already had a cupcake store. Tidball knew a friend that was in the candy manufacturing business and that friend offered lessons on how to make homemade fudge.
"My friend taught me everything I needed to know about making candy and fudge and dipping stuff, and tempering chocolates," Tidball said. So the decision to open a candy store was made.
The store, located at 4548 Pine Island Road, NW, is directly across the street from the Post Office.
From the store's over 1,300 square feet of space, Tidball and Gomez offer more than 200 types of fudge and a wide range of gifts many specific to Pine Island and Matlacha.
"We also have gift baskets," Gomez said.
Sampling is easy as there are always a dozen or so flavors on hand: chocolate, vanilla, chocolate walnut, red velvet cake, salted nut roll, Snickers, mint chocolate swirl and many more.
Hours at the store are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week. For additional information, call 239-283-9911