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News & Press: Press Release

Piqua to Host Candy Makers for Sweet Education

Monday, April 11, 2016  
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PIQUA, OH - April 11, 2016 - Candy makers from across Ohio and the United States, will be in Piqua, Ohio April 20 through 22 for Merchandising Essentials, a unique education course designed specifically for retail candy makers. The course is offered through trade association, Retail Confectioners International (RCI) and hosted by Winans Chocolates + Coffees.

Retailers in the confectionery industry will travel to Piqua to learn merchandising concepts essential to remain relevant in an increasingly competitive environment. During this brief-yet comprehensive course, students will explore the basis of a strong, consistent brand image, create an effective promotion, assemble attractive gift baskets and product displays and manage engaging social media content. Students will reinforce what they learn in the classroom with hands-on experience.

Joe Reiser, president/owner of Winans Fine Chocolates + Coffees and member of RCI’s board of directors, understands the importance of education for businesses. "Merchandising Essentials is designed specifically for the confectionery industry, making it an invaluable resource for candy makers and chocolatiers seeking to tell the story of their brand and the specialty products they create," says Reiser. "We are excited to offer our facility to help candy makers better understand both the art and science of merchandising." Reiser will host the course, along with his wife Laurie Winans Reiser, at their newest facility in Piqua.

Merchandising Essentials is taught by four industry professionals who are experts in the fields of marketing and merchandising. Rebecca Craig, Marie’s Candies of West Liberty, Ohio, and Randy Good, Good’s Candy Shop of Anderson, Indiana, will bring their personal knowledge and experience of building successful candy brands. Carlos Scarpero, of Dayton, Ohio, is an internet marketing consultant and authorized local expert for Constant Contact. As an instructor, Scarpero will focus on proven digital marketing techniques. Lead Instructor Kevin Smith, of Kevin Smith Studios, Inc. has extensive experience bridging the gap between product and consumer through brand storytelling and compelling merchandising. “Every product category in a candy shop has a unique and exciting story to be told. Sometimes candy merchants don’t see the potential in each of these specific categories, rather they see the store as a whole and tend to tell one big merchandising story,” says Smith. “The candy shops that deliver the best merchandising stories within these categories are the ones that will maximize their profit per square foot and keep customers coming back.”

Hands-on learning sessions will be held Thursday, April 21; media is welcome to visit Winans Fine Chocolates + Coffees of Piqua for interviews and taping. Retail Confectioners International provides educational opportunities across the country for confectionery retailers. For information about upcoming courses and events, visit


Lacey Hesse, Marketing Manager



Retail Confectioners International (RCI) is a not-for-profit trade association serving the confectionery industry.  Based in Springfield, MO, RCI has represented the interests of confectionery manufacturing retailers and promoted public interest in these products for more than 90 years. RCI provides a forum for confectioners to network, share ideas and develop their candy-making and entrepreneurial skills. For more information, please visit