Candy Couture uses first time at Taste of Home to promote business (w/video)
Helen Soto made the most of her first time at the Taste of Home event - she brought her business.
Five-feet-tall lollipops wrapped in cellophane arranged in a row under a red-and-white striped awning framed her booth, Candy Couture, in the Victoria Community Center Annex during the expo.
The annual event almost sold out of its general admission seats in its fifth year and sold out every VIP seat for the cooking school Thursday.
Before the cooking demonstration with Taste of Home culinary specialist Jamie Dunn, Soto stood proudly behind her table, which was covered in chocolates, lollipops and candy apples dressed as Disney princesses, talking to people who were interested in her craft - personalized candies.
Attendees tasted the candies with their eyes first and then got samples of the treats Soto, 50, prepared to show off at the event.
"This is my baby," she said about her business. "It's grown so much."
She brought her almost 2-year-old home business to the Taste of Home event in hopes to show the community what she offers for people who might be shopping for something special for their next occasion.
She uses edible labels and pictures to decorate chocolates and lollipops.
"If they can put images on a cake, then I could do the same thing with candies," Soto said.
Among the sea of event-goers, her sisters came to show their support and celebrate Dorothy Sanchez's birthday.
"Everything is good and so beautiful," said Sanchez, 71, of Yoakum.
She nibbled on a chocolate-covered marshmallow treat from Soto's booth and eyed the lollipops that read "Happy Mother's Day" and chocolate Bibles complete with verses.
Paula Ramirez, 85, also of Yoakum, was proud to say she was related to Soto and proud of her growing business.
"It's excellent," she said.
Another booth laden with sweets shined in the corner of the bustling annex. The ladies with Cimarron Express were almost hidden behind the table stacked with cookies, cake pops and other treats.
Janet Gutierrez, 39, of Victoria, said their booth is a hit each time they come to the event. This was their third time at the show.
"Who doesn't love sweets?" she said. "You gotta have your sweets."
Renee Foss, 52, of Victoria, chatted with the ladies from Cimarron Express and grabbed a cookie covered in powdered sugar. She giggled as she walked away, indulging in the guilty pleasure. The sweet treats are always good at the Taste of Home event, she said.
During her walk around the annex, she also grabbed a chocolate business card from Soto and was excited to learn about the business.
"It's the most unique thing I've seen," said Foss. "I think it would do great here."
Soto hopes eventually to move into a storefront some day, but for now, events such as Taste of Home will get people interested.
"It was the perfect opportunity for me," she said.