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MailTribune.com
  • Sweet expansion plan

    Pete's Gourmet Confections seeks Medford's approval to remodel Merriman Road building for its new quarters
  • During its formative years, Pete's Gourmet Confections operated conservatively, leasing space as needed when big orders for its candies came in.
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  • During its formative years, Pete's Gourmet Confections operated conservatively, leasing space as needed when big orders for its candies came in.
    "We operated in one small industrial unit and then a second, a third and occasionally we rent a fourth for larger projects," said Pete Croyle, who owns the company with his wife, Jennifer.
    Now the burgeoning candy company has run out of elbow room at its plant on Bateman Drive in Central Point.
    As a result, Pete's Gourmet Confections will go before the Medford Planning Commission Thursday, seeking a conditional use permit to remodel a 10,000 square-foot building along Merriman Road currently zoned for light industrial fabrication business.
    The building most recently was used by spa lid maker Coverplay, which moved into the building in 2003. Before that, plumbing contractor Cal-Ore Mechanical operated there for eight years.
    In the company application, Croyle noted his company will produce less traffic, and its production equipment is quieter than previous uses.
    The larger kitchen will allow the confectioner to produce up to 6,000 pounds of goodies per day.
    "This will allow us to expand into other types of confectionery," Croyle said.
    The company produces rocky road and old-time candies along with marshmallow lollipops. More recently the company has marketed Pete's STOUT Beer Bites — nougats possessing maltiness and hop flavor without alcohol — in small batches.
    The Croyles moved to the Rogue Valley from Van Nuys, Calif., in 2006. He grew up in Coos Bay, but they decided the coast was a little too wet for their tastes.
    "We found the best of all worlds in the Rogue Valley," Croyle said.
    Both husband and wife worked in the motion picture industry — he was a carpenter and she an art department decorator.
    "We kind of fell into the confection business," he said.
    The couple traditionally made Christmas gifts every year, such as lavender bath salts or baked goods, he said.
    "One year, we made a nice kit of handmade marshmallows and cocoa from my grandma's recipe," Croyle said. "We had a few leftover marshmallows and I took it to the guys I worked with for their ski trips or to give to their grandmas."
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