MEET YOUR MERCHANT: Professor’s candy business sweetens the pot
Rebecca Bevans spent most of the last decade in school hitting the books and working toward her Ph.D. in psychology and cognitive neuroscience at the University of Nevada, Reno.
Today, she makes candy.
“My friends call me Dr. Chocolate,” Bevans said. “My mom loves to tell everybody, ‘She goes to get her Ph.D. and what does she do? She makes candy.'”
But candy-making is a welcomed change from the stresses of academia for Bevans, 38, who started Carson City Confections a month ago to sell her sweet and salty “Becky Roka” candy to earn some extra income.
Her recipe, which she learned in her 8th grade home economics class, is a combination of sugar, butter, chocolate, nuts and other ingredients.
Bevans, who teaches psychology classes at Western Nevada College and Truckee Meadows Community College, said, “I needed another job and in this economy it was really hard to get hired on full time anywhere.”
So she decided to make a business out of the candy she had been making for her friends and family for years.
“Instead of trying to hunt for a job I decided I would make myself one,” Bevans said.
After mulling the idea for months, Bevans got her business license, started a Web site and contacted the owner of B’Sghetti’s, who lets her use his kitchen on the weekends before the dinner crowd.
“It’s something I’ve done for so long, I might as well offer it to the general public,” she said.
Bevans said she uses only natural ingredients and no high fructose corn syrup – it’s bad for neurotransmitters, she says.
Bevans said she still applies her knowledge of psychology to candy-making – the chocolate does raise endorphin and serotonin levels in people who eat it, after all.
“I understand the chocolate and all the other ingredients on a biological and psychological level,” she said with a smile. “You can’t leave home without using psychology in some aspect.”
For now, she said she’ll continue selling her candy at B’Sghetti’s, Carson Coffee and Sugar Pine Cove. Her long-term goal is to grow her business so she can open her own candy shop and hire her friends.
“I love to teach,” Bevans said. “But really I would love to make candy all the time. It’s fun, it makes me happy.”
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