Peer through the windows of Laura’s Fudge on Wildwood Avenue one half block from the famous Wildwood Boardwalk and you’ll see Dave Roach behind the huge copper kettles stirring chocolate and his wife Lori Bradshaw Roach placing beautifully hand made chocolates and fudge in white boxes with pink lettering stating; “Laura’s Fudge Shop, Made with Pure Whipping Cream – Imitated Never Duplicated.”
Hard to find classic candies in this shop feature a selection of nostalgic sweets and a trip inside is a journey back in time to an original old fashion candy store. Jars filled with glittering orbs in every imaginable color – sherbet oranges, lemon fizzes, and gumballs in primary and pastel shades adorn the shop. But this whimsical store in a city that loves its artisan chocolates is not only one of the few premium candy shops on the island but on Valentine’s Day it has a love story too!
When it comes to matters of the heart the Roach’s recall the first time they met. Back in the mid 70s when Pacific Avenue in Wildwood, NJ
was the place for teenagers to walk and be with friends, Dave Roach saw Lori Bradshaw for the first time. “I was in a car with a few of my buddies and I saw this beautiful girl with blond hair. I said to my friends, that girl’s going to be my wife.” Lori Bradshaw Roach starts to laugh but there is a twinkle in her eyes too as she confirms; “we’ve been together since then and have never really looked back.” Now both in their 50’s the Roach’s have a beautiful family, a successful business and both are involved with the city of Wildwood, the Greater Wildwood Chamber of Commerce (Lori is past president) and many local organizations. The city is as much of who they are as their store. “It’s important for us to get involved and give back to the community that has given us so much to be thankful.”
The key to their success is that they both understand the importance of looking ahead. While the odds are indeed stacked against family-owned businesses being operated by continuous generations of family members, there are examples of companies that have remained family-controlled and successful through time – Laura’s Fudge is a fine local example of success through the decades. And while the statistics don’t favor family ownership over the long haul, those companies that have beaten the odds describe a host of things that have contributed to their success – Laura’s Fudge in Wildwood creates products that respond to the human need of love and all we really need is love, and ah chocolate!