FERNDALE, Wash. — Washington is home to countless coffee shops, but Whatcom County may have the only toffee shop.
Anytime Toffee is a small, family-owned business with a new storefront in downtown Ferndale.
"(It's) a small little community up here that's stuck off to the side of Bellingham and we get a little bit lost over here, but we have a lot of talented people,” said owner Tara Wright.
Her shop showcases dozens of small makers and their wares. But the main draw is what she cooks up in the back: small batch toffee, made by hand.
"I think that's what really gets our texture the way it is, and we get to put love in each batch,” she said. "My mother-in-law had this recipe we would make every year and we would just give it to friends and family. They would say, ‘You should sell this.’"
It was a daunting idea for a mother of four homeschooled kids — but ultimately, that lead Wright to take the plunge. She wanted her children to learn the value of hard work and running a business.
"We started doing the tiniest farmer's markets and craft shows we could find, so we could fail easily with all eyes on us," Wright laughed. "But it didn't fail, it took off like crazy!"
After a couple of years, they moved operations from the house into a tiny commercial kitchen, and finally into the downtown Ferndale space remodeled by Wright’s husband.
The entire time, their children were helping and learning — and now, it's their daughter Danica Anderson’s career. She helps run the business as the Admin Trainer Manager.
"I'm just so proud of the work she's done,” Anderson said. "I wouldn't think I could do that, except that I know I could because I've seen it happen.”
Named "Anytime Toffee" — because it's more than just a seasonal treat — they make the familiar confection with a secret ingredient that sets it apart.
"It's softer than most toffee, it doesn't hurt your teeth," Wright said. "It's dentist approved.”
“And orthodontist approved!" Anderson added. "We even brought it to our orthodontist and he loves it."
There are 23 rotating, unique flavors like espresso bean and raspberry dark chocolate. At the shop, customers can try samples before they buy.
Anytime Toffee regularly ships around the country, and after a recent order in Europe the small business is officially international.
But it's also rooted in Ferndale. Wright hopes it will become a destination for other families to visit.
Anytime Toffee is located at 5701 Third Ave. in Ferndale, and is open Monday – Friday from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Their products are also available for purchase online.
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