If you have ever visited downtown Anacortes, you may have sampled one of the 50+ delicious varieties of Fidalgo Fudge Co. From creamy classics like the choco-late walnut to unique creations such as the dark chocolate ginger or habanero, there’s something for every sweet tooth.
While owner Trista Sakuma was a longtime baker prior to purchasing the business in 2014, she had actually never made fudge before. It wasn’t until she met the previous owners that she even considered a career in fudge-making.
“The day I quit my job without a back-up, I met this couple who had a fudge business and were looking to retire,” Sakuma says. “It was a real leap of faith.”
Motivated to start her own business and intrigued by fudge’s long shelf life, Sakuma charged ahead. She spent a year purchasing Fidalgo Fudge Co. while also running a coffee business, Farmer’s Cup, alongside her husband at the Anacortes Farmers Market.
“I knew they needed a coffee vendor and I used to be a barista,” she says. “Plus I know how to make a lot of things from scratch.”
Since Sakuma took ownership nearly eight years ago, Fidalgo Fudge Co. has changed drastically, from a boom in flavors to increased e-commerce.
“I bought a good structure with a lot of room to grow,” she says. “They already had a great following, but adding the cutting-edge flavors and updating the displays really expanded the customer base.”
Sakuma also made the business more accessible online, changing the web name from “Sound Ideas Fudge Kitchen”to “Fidalgo Fudge Kitchen.” Once COVID-19 hit, she quickly moved to update the online platform.
After making 3,000 pounds of fudge for the 2020 Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, she had to scramble to sell it all when the event was cancelled. With some help from local photographer Katheryn Moran, Sakuma was able to dramatically increase sales online, through social media, and through virtual shows.
The biggest change is the recent opening of a new storefront in downtown Anacortes. Sakuma purchased the location—a former post office—in 2019, only for construction to be shut down shortly after.
She used the hiatus to her advantage, installing a 30-panel solar system on the roof, a new heating system, new windows and doors, as well as inputting an espresso counter repurposed from a slab of a bowling lane of the recently closed San Juan Lanes.
The 1,200 square-foot shop functions as both a kitchen and retail space, featuring not only Fidalgo Fudge but also Farmer’s Cup coffee, local chocolate, and Lopez Island Creamery ice cream.
Much like the business, Sakuma says the community of Anacortes has grown immensely in some ways while staying the same in others. As a fifth-generation Anacortes resident, she hopes to integrate the community into her business when her doors open.
“It’s home,” she says. “It’s the most beautiful place in the world.”
Fidalgo Fudge Co., 715 Commercial Ave, Anacortes, fidalgofudge.com