What's soft, chewy, gluten-free, tastes like caramel apple and is made in Rochester Hills?
It's Shurms – the soft candy with an apple-flavored layer topped in caramel that is making its way into stores across Michigan.
Shurms was born in Kevin Kolpasky's Oakland Township kitchen while he was experimenting with gluten-free ingredients for his 15-year-old daughter, Jennifer Kolpasky, who has Celiac disease and is allergic to gluten.
"He loves tinkering around in the kitchen," said Kevin's wife, Jackie Kolpasky.
Jennifer is now involved in the family business and goes to store locations selling Shurms and giving out samples of the candy.
"She is the face of Shurms," Kevin said. "When you give out samples, it gets people and our product into the stores."
Their son, 18-year-old William Kolpasky, helps cut and wrap the candy once it's ready for consumption.
Meanwhile, Jackie has taken charge of making, shipping, selling and marketing the candy around Michigan. Through her efforts, Shurms is popping up in stores around the state.
The most recent vendor, Zehnder's of Frankenmuth, will sell the candy in bulk form at their popular gift shop.
Shurms is also available at the following locations:
- Westborn Market (Berkley, Dearborn, Livonia)
- Vince & Joe's (Shelby Township)
- Michigania (Lansing)
- Celiac Specialties (Rochester Hills)
- Great Lakes Market (Holly)
You can also order Shurms online; bags of the candy are $3.99 each.
Spreading the word
When Kevin first reached out to the Rochester Downtown Development Authority (DDA) for advice on how to get a table at the farmer's market, they suggested Mark Jaaroch from The Breadwinner Bakery.
Jaaroch was more than willing to let them set up shop next to his table, and after three weeks in May – full of positive feedback – Kolpasky was convinced they had something.
Currently, Shurms are manufactured in Rochester Hills at Celiac Specialties, where there is no risk for wheat contamination.
"You can only sell homemade items at a farmer's market, so to get our product in stores, we rent a commercial kitchen," Kevin said.
Kevin said he is thankful for the support of local businesses that have helped his growing company, including Celiac Specialties and Westborn Market, which has been extremely helpful in spreading the word about Shurms.
"People in our area who own their own business want you to succeed as much as they want themselves to succeed," Kevin said.
For more information about Shurms, visit shurmscandy.com.