Jason McCrea was laid off in 2009. He had been an insurance company database developer and when the axe came, he was not totally surprised, but he was not fully prepared. After taking a few classes and playing with the idea of opening a bread bakery, he decided to try his hand at making caramel, a process which combined his love of detail and great food with his desire to stay close to home. He also wanted to produce for the local economy and be the master of his own destiny. Caramel Eyes was born.
Through creative financing, help from anyone who offered and an endless supply of determination and enthusiasm, he developed a rich and creamy product in his home kitchen that literally melts in the mouth. His logo was developed gratis by a design class at a local college. He established relationships with attorneys, accountants, other business people and most importantly, other candy makers. He refurbished a classic candy wrapping machine, bought a commercial cooker and rented space at Crop Circles, JP's incubator kitchen where he made more contacts and developed more relationships.
Still, about midway through the process, although he was busy and seemed to be going forward, McCrea wasn't 100 percent sure of his strategy and methods. He attended the "Samuel Adams Brewing the American Dream" speed coaching seminar and spent an evening with Jim Koch and the folks at The Boston Beer Company, brewers of Samuel Adams beer.
In an email McCrea said he "loved it -- I found it energizing to see other folks with big ideas struggling with how to execute them (just like me). I also realized how much I accomplished so far, and validated my methods, which was empowering."
Today McCrea sells his caramel at various locales including JP on Wednesday nights through Oct. 19 at 18 Marbury Terrace. Additionally, Caramel Eyes has been approved as a vendor and expects to begin increased production in a new facility soon.