OWATONNA, Minn. (KEYC) — Paula Trenda began Curly Girlz Candy Inc. back in 2014, specializing in sugar-free, homemade gourmet candy.
“I worked with some keto nutritionists to develop some sweetener blends that would mimic some sugars in candy making. We launched some caramels in 2016 in the Fall then moved to Owatonna in 2017 and now we do 90% of our work in the sugar-free [section]. So we have a wide variety of caramels, brittles, toffees, chocolate covered items," said Curly Girlz Candy Owner and CEO Paula Trenda.
The business, a growing success, today shipping items across the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico.
Recognizing her leadership as an entrepreneur, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) presented her an award as Minnesota’s Small Business Person of the Year.
“It’s a really competitive award to get but it’s not just her success in the business but what she’s been doing in the community and giving back. Plus her partnership with Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation and that is who nominated her for this award," explained Brian McDonald, the acting district director for Minnesota’s SBA division.
Trenda is active in her community, working with 4-H members and high school students to learn options for employment and entrepreneurship in the food industry. She also provides donations for various community programs.
“Curly Girlz Candy is just out there to help support other female food entrepreneurs and people who are looking to start their business and follow their dreams. I’m always around to answer questions if they have but if they need a sweet treat and are in Owatonna, they certainly should stop in and take a look," said Trenda.