Mark and Erica Bruner owners Doomsday’s Candy Bunker in Blair. We talked with them today and learned fascinating details about their unique candy business. From the inspiration behind the name to the creative flavors and future plans, Doomsday’s Candy Bunker is unlike any other candy store we know of.
The name “Doomsday’s Candy Bunker” came from Erica’s association of Home Freeze Drying with prepping and food storage. When asked about the name, Erica explained, “We wanted a name that was fun & catchy, but also made it pretty obvious what we do.” They wanted to be unique, and it’s safe to say they succeeded! The tagline “Prepping for a Sweet Apocalypse!” adds a touch of humor to their brand. Erica added, “Honestly, that just made me laugh. And if it makes us happy, it stays!”
One of the surprising benefits of freeze-drying that Erica shared with us is how it maintains the original characteristics of most foods. Erica said, “Freeze drying maintains the original matrix of most food that you might prepare for long-term storage.” Candy, in particular, undergoes some interesting changes when freeze-dried. Erica explained, “Some get huge and puffy, others light and airy or even crispy like chips.” Freeze-drying also helps food retain more nutrients over time and has a low spoilage rate when done correctly. Erica added, “Some foods have a shelf life of 20+.”
When it comes to creating unique flavors, Erica takes the lead in developing custom candy recipes. Erica shared, “We do quite a few custom flavors. I curate & develop most of our custom candy recipes.” They don’t just repackage candies; they want to put their own stamp on their treats. Erica revealed, “Our wildest flavors so far are probably Taco Spice & Dill Pickle.” They’re also working on a line of all-natural drink mixes and custom cotton candy flavors.
What sets Doomsday’s Candy Bunker apart from other candy stores is their openness to new ideas and commitment to customer satisfaction. Erica said, “We really like to stretch ourselves into whatever strikes us as interesting. We also listen to friends, family & customers as they suggest or ask about new products.” Erica shared an example of how they embraced customer suggestions and created their own version of Coffee Heart Attacks. Erica emphasized, “We think there is a lot of room in the marketplace.” They strive to make the best version of everything they create and always show gratitude to those who support their business. Erica added, “We always try to show them how much they mean to us as a small business.”
Erica’s personal experiences and passion for cooking, combined with Mark’s love for delicious treats, have shaped the creative direction of Doomsday’s Candy Bunker. Erica said, “Erica has always liked to cook & Mark has always liked to eat—seems to work out pretty good! Creatively, it just comes naturally.” They learn from their experiences and keep moving forward. Erica shared, “We pay attention to what works, don’t trip too hard over the potholes, and keep going.”
Running a home-based candy business comes with its challenges. Erica mentioned that dealing with humidity has been one of their hurdles. However, they have found solutions by upgrading their equipment when needed. Erica explained, “We just upgrade as we need to.” Additionally, they have learned the importance of dedication and staying committed to their dream, even on days when they may not feel like it. Erica said, “We have had to learn to be more dedicated, even on those days we may not want to. We just remind each other we are working on a dream.”
Balancing business ownership with personal life is a priority for Erica and Mark. Surprisingly, owning a business has actually enriched their personal lives. Erica shared, “Actually, having a business has led to a richer personal life. We have met some amazing people in the community. We are having a great time serving them.” They haven’t employed any special strategies but rather allowed their business to grow naturally. However, Erica mentioned the importance of reaching out to other local businesses and building relationships. She said, “The one thing we did do that was probably pivotal was reach out to Skinny Bones. They were amazing & took a real chance on us. From there, we found Main Street Boutique. That has become our home base.”
Looking towards the future, Erica and Mark have ambitious plans for Doomsday’s Candy Bunker. They envision transitioning into a full commercial operation and expanding their business. Erica expressed their faith in the timing and location, saying, “Our goal is to go into a full commercial operation & expand. We have faith that we are doing this at the right time & place.” They aspire to work from home full-time, running the Bunker. Additionally, they are excited about upcoming shows and events in different cities, including Fremont, Omaha, Lincoln, and their local community in Blair. Erica shared their enthusiasm, saying, “We are very excited to do a pop-up for the Blair Night Cruise on May 6th.“
Local businesses like Doomsday’s Candy Bunker play a crucial role in building strong communities. Erica believes that small business owners benefit the community by having a shared interest in its success. She said, “The owners all have an interest in the success of the community & each other.” Erica emphasized the importance of collaboration and remembering the initial purpose of starting a business. She added, “If we ever start to feel that way, we refocus & remember why we started doing this in the first place.”
To aspiring entrepreneurs looking to start a unique or niche business, Erica offered valuable advice. She emphasized the significance of research, saying, “Do your research.” Erica encouraged entrepreneurs not to hesitate for too long and to keep moving forward. She said, “Once you get started, don’t stagnate. Move forward—don’t be afraid to grow & innovate.” Erica drew inspiration from Henry Ford and his continuous innovation, stating, “Ford didn’t just make the Model-A & say, ‘Well, that’s good enough,’ he went on to continue to innovate & create cars that are now American Icons.”
Doomsday’s Candy Bunker is a unique candy business – and the only one in Blair – that stands out from the crowd. From their creative flavors and freeze-dried treats to their commitment to customer satisfaction and community support, Erica and Mark have built a business that brings joy and sweetness to their customers. The name “Doomsday’s Candy Bunker” reflects their fun and catchy approach, while their dedication to creating unique flavors sets them apart. Despite the challenges of running a home-based business, Erica and Mark’s determination and passion have helped them overcome obstacles. And, their future plans of expansion and participation in local events show their commitment to growth.
If you’re in the mood for a unique candy experience and want to support a Blair business, Doomsday’s Candy Bunker is the place to be. Their freeze-dried treats, custom flavors, and commitment to customer satisfaction make them a standout in Blair, Nebraska. Don’t miss their Special Sale this Saturday, 8am-3ish, with an early bird opportunity on Friday, 5-8pm! Get ready for amazing discounts of 50% or more off retail (most items 75% off). They have an incredible selection including NEW items! You can sample their NEW Drink Line. Cash, credit, and ApplePay accepted. Find them at 2250 Park Street in Blair.
By Don Harrold for BlairToday. Email email@example.com for corrections, additions, or questions.