With the help of the LSBDC at NSU, Ron Beaudoin was able to transform a once struggling candy shop into a thriving sweet treat shop. Rod Beaudin has always loved Natchitoches for its historic district, charm, and the excitement of a bustling downtown atmosphere. He worked for large companies in the past, but the prospect of always working for someone else had long since lost its appeal. It came as no surprise to those who knew him best that he would jump on an opportunity to buy a business located on Front Street in the historic district. Beaudin purchased a well-known, but struggling business, Les Saisons, known locally as the “candy store.”
t was perfect for him. “I wanted to own a family friendly business,” he recalls. “What better than a candy store.” Beaudin lacked formal as well as practical business experience, so he turned to the LSBDC at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches for assistance. LSBDC consultants helped him develop a marketing plan and product mix strategy that would attract new customers. The consultants also worked with Beaudin to develop a supply chain plan and a new store layout. After a year of planning, Les Saisons was officially re-named Kracked Kernel in February 2010, and the changes began immediately. Beaudin quickly realized that while candy and other treats are a great way to get people in the door, such products alone could not support the business. In addition to his confectionary collection of chocolate truffles, saltwater taffy, gourmet popcorn, and Blue Bell ice cream, he added specialized gifts and a deli to serve the lunchtime crowd. While the products generate sales, it’s the people Beaudin likes most. “Come share a story,” Beaudin encourages his customers. Due to the 60-mile commute from Pineville to Natchitoches, Beaudin decided to relocate the Kracked Kernal to Alexandria.
The new candy store opened July 15. Today, under Beaudin’s leadership and ownership, business for the Kracked Kernel has significantly increased, and the LSBDC has been there every step of the way providing guidance and support. Beaudin commented on his experience saying, “The LSBDC has been a great hand to hold.”