Local confectionery to be featured on QVC

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Wilmington-based business Goodness Gracie will feature its signature toffee creations on QVC today. Photo courtesy Goodness Gracie.
Wilmington-based business Goodness Gracie will feature its signature toffee creations on QVC today. Photo courtesy Goodness Gracie.

What began as a local operation out of a small beach cottage has made its way into the national spotlight.

Goodness Gracie Gourmet Foods, Wilmington’s purveyor of signature toffee treats, will be featured on home shopping network QVC’s Food Fest show sometime between 4 and 7 p.m. Wednesday.

The homegrown business—named after the owners’ shelter pup—was born quite by accident nearly two decades ago when Sallie Price was working as a caterer. Realizing she had forgotten a dessert for a client’s luncheon, Price quickly whipped up one of her mother’s tried-and-true recipes–a confection, part candy, part cookie, that eventually came to be known as Heavenly Toffee.

“I was catering a lady Realtors’ luncheon…and they said, ‘Oh, you have to put these in tins so we can give them out as gifts,’” Price recalled.

Eventually, that’s what she and her husband, Carter, decided to do. Working out of her father’s guest house in Wrightsville Beach, Price baked her way into a small business that is now sold in gourmet stores, including the Port City’s Temptations, Pine Valley Market and The Seasoned Gourmet and Cat on a Whisk in Southport.

“I’d be up sometimes cooking until two in the morning and taping tins myself,” Price said.

From those humble beginnings the business expanded out to a wholesale bakery in a facility off River Road. The couple also added three new flavors of their handmade, hand-broken graham cracker- and toffee-based confection and three savory snacks.

And they worked the trade show circuit, as well. It was at one of those events last year that Price got connected with QVC.  A woman passed by Goodness Gracie’s booth and mentioned a family member used to make similar cookies. Price noticed her name tag, which read “QVC set designer.”

It wasn’t the first time Goodness Gracie had come into contact with the network.

“QVC approached us many years ago but we weren’t ready then,” Price said. “I said, ‘We’re interested now.’”

With a contact at QVC, Price sent over some samples and in September, the network contacted her about coming on “Food Fest” for five- to eight-minute segment.

After flying out to QVC’s studios in Westchester, Pennsylvania, for a couple of test runs, Price was offered a spot on the show.

“So, I’ll be the on air guest and answering questions,” Price said about this afternoon’s appearance. “I’m so excited to be going on QVC to launch our Goodness Gracie Gourmet toffee cookie sampler, which will bring the authentic taste of our North Carolina family recipes to QVC.”

Price said she, her husband and her full-time baker—along with a host of part-time helpers—have been in “Christmas mode” the last five weeks getting toffee made and tins packed.

Now, with nerves in check, she’s ready to take her small business to the small screen and into homes across the country.

“The exposure from QVC is the opportunity for us, and getting national recognition. So, if I get nervous I’m not helping anything… I’m calm and peaceful. That could all, change of course,” she said, laughing. “But all the work is done and all I have to do now is just go on air.”

Hilary Snow is a reporter at Port City Daily. Reach her at (910) 772-6341 or hilary.s@hometownwilmington.com.