Pamela Robinson - Owner & Executive ConfectionerTodd Robinson - Operations
Pamela was a single mom raising 3 boys. She was known in her community for her creative "optical illusion" specialty cakes, elegant multi-tiered wedding cakes, and decorative cookies. Over the years, many people had told her that with her creative culinary talents she should go into business, but she'd never had the vehicle to do it.
Todd was a widower with 4 grown daughters. He was a long-time entrepreneur who had launched a Silicon Valley media agency and a CGI software company during the dot-com boom, started a motorcycle racetrack school running events in California and Nevada training thousands of riders, and most recently a motorsports parts business that was still being severely impacted by that industry's collapse during the 2009 Recession.
They met in 2017 and were instantly inseparable, marrying the following year. Motorcycles had been a life-long passion for Todd, and Pamela had always wanted to ride. So it was only natural that Todd proposed to Pamela with a key to a Kawasaki Ninja 300 sportbike as an engagement gift on the rocks on the beach in Pacific City, Oregon. She was going to say yes anyhow...but this certainly sweetened the proposal offer.
Blending their families with one young son still at home with them, they settled into a very happy life together. Their days were filled with laughter and love, and motorcycle rides, with Pamela's terrible puns and even worse dad jokes softening Todd's more serious demeanor.
Pamela had left her career in supply chain and inventory to come work with Todd at his parts business, but knew she wanted to use her culinary skills to bring in extra money. She suggested soft peanut brittle, a popular known delicacy in the Inland Northwest, as she and her mother had for years made it to give away at Christmas. Todd researched the gourmet confections market space and found it was a good opportunity for them to let Pamela pursue her passion while making extra money.
Robinson Soft Brittle was launched in summer 2019. They did their first public event that July with a group called "CDA Makers" which hosts local artisan marketplace events, and were overwhelmed with the response, selling almost all the candy they'd brought in just 3 hours. This was also where they first met Stephen Granat (Abide Culture Coffee), a local small batch specialty coffee roaster, whose coffee would be used in both RSB's Triple Chocolate Hazelnut Espresso Bark™ ("Nicaragua" roast) and Caramel Macchiato Bark™ ("Peru" roast). This was followed by the Coeur d'Alene Downtown Street Fair/Art on the Green and the Schweitzer Fall Fest at Schweitzer Mountain Ski Resort. At this event, although bringing several hundred pounds of soft peanut brittle, they sold out so quickly that Pamela and one of Todd's daughters had to pull an all-nighter cooking candy right in the middle of the festival to make enough candy to finish the weekend. Clearly, they were on to something big.
The next step was creating their first original recipe creation: Chocolate Hazelnut Soft Brittle™. This came about because Todd's youngest daughter wasn't a big peanut fan but was fanatical about Nutella® spread. After dozen upon dozen of failed attempts they finally had a breakthrough and a delicious original creation...although it took over fifteen months to truly perfect the process. That was followed by several unique chocolate bark creations. Todd then suggested using Apple Brandy in English Toffee since Pamela was toying with the idea of adding toffee flavors, and thus their line of original liqueur-based toffee creations was launched to dramatic success.
Like most small businesses they were hit hard by the 2020 pandemic. But by the grace of God and outpouring of support from family, friends, and their community, the business survived. During this time they also branched out into selling to retailers and of course worked to grow their online presence. They now have two dozen retailers across Idaho, Eastern Washington, and Western Montana, with plans to add more specialty retailers. It is their dream to some day be featured in upscale kitchen stores and specialty food shops across the entire country.
They now have multiple variants of soft brittle (including 2 original creations), 6 types of specialty chocolate bark (including the 2 original coffee-based creations mentioned above, plus 4 original recipes), and original creation line of 5 liqueur-based English Toffees. In 2021 their Mexican Hot Chocolate won Gold, Bronze, and two honorable mentions at the International Chocolate Salon.
In 2021 they launched a product eGifting platform Brittlegift.com. So while their main website would remain a place for people to order candy and build gift boxes, the Brittlegift.com platform is a new type of eGifting site...where the gift giver sets the price and size of the gift, but their recipient gets an eGreeting card with a code so they can custom design their own gift box choices before it ships directly to them.
A word from the Robinsons:
We are very appreciative for the overwhelming response to our confections and the opportunity to work together doing something we love that seems to bring happiness to so many people. This is our "why"...and we get to do it every day.
We are also grateful for our local farmers markets and artisan community and our state's elected officials for fostering a true business-friendly environment in Idaho. There is no better place we could imagine to grow a business.
Robinson Soft Brittle: Proudly made in Idaho