By Donna Hill
For The Fort Bend Star
Madison Gage loves chocolate, and she wants her customers to enjoy what she loves.
Gage, who will graduate this year from Stafford High School, dreams big. She wanted to start her business of making candy, and is now the proud owner of Maddy’s Gourmet Chocolates.
With Valentine’s Day next week, her candies may be just the perfect gift.
Starting her business took some time. She owes a lot to her mom, Patrice, for helping her along the way, especially with getting her to understand math.
“Measurement and counting were a problem at first” said Patrice, whose daughter was diagnosed with Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome (WHS), a condition caused by a missing part of a chromosome. “We had the entire support of the school district to get her on the right track. During her freshman year at Stafford, Madison was interested in the culinary arts classes – cooking, pastry meals, cookies. She started experimenting in the kitchen, making lemon tarts, especially. She worked closely with various teachers, understanding the workings of the commercial kitchen, serving, greeting customers, budgets.”
Marva Raspberry, deputy assistant superintendent for Stafford Municipal School District, sees a blossoming Gage in the kitchen, with a growing knowledge of the job at hand. Including an understanding of food allergies.
“She’s aware of food allergies to nuts. If she were making candies with peanuts, they would be made on a separate day from other days of making nut candies, or even candies without nuts. Peanut candy would be all she would work on that night, the next night would be pecan candy,” Raspberry said.
Neatness counts with Gage. She makes sure that everyone knows what he or she is assigned to do in the kitchen, too.
“Communicating with adults from a business perspective has really enhanced her speaking abilities as well as her writing,” Raspberry said. “She’s a lot more confident with note taking (for orders) and conversing with customers. I think she is a testimony for those teenagers who may have a disability of how you can overcome that and how you can become a successful business person.”
Business is definitely taking off.
“She has several regular clients who keep her busy with assortments of cookie pops, chocolate pretzels and chocolate covered peanuts. What with all the measuring and counting (both money and ingredients), Gage is now a wiz at math.
“She’s found that doing what she loves has helped her with math, and built up her confidence.” said Raspberry.
Her specialties so far have been cookie pops and dark chocolate with sea salt. The best part is she gets to work at home.
A 400 candy piece order – and that’s a lot of candy – will take about two days to prepare. A family affair, Gage recruits her siblings and cousins to work as assistants in the kitchen. Her mother helps with packaging. After all the baking and bright shiny box wrapping is finished, she brings the goodies to the events, such as weddings, baby showers and graduation parties. Set up takes about an hour.
Word of mouth is definitely in her favor. Customers and vendors, who sell ingredients to her, work as her marketing team.
“Business has been so good!” beamed Madison.
Stafford High School and baking have given what Madison says “a big boost of confidence. I wouldn’t do a thing different.”
She has her business down. Venturing into marketing, she is focusing on building her website, complete with all social media additions. In the meantime, her bright boxes of candy can be found at her mom’s store, Upscale Phase II, at 10571 West Airport Road in Stafford.
To order, contact Maddy’s Gourmet Chocolates at 281-889-5138.