Originally posted by Business In Tampa
Taylor Schalk is the Director of Business Development at Toffee To Go, a Tampa-based company that makes handcrafted toffee.
From family recipe to family business, Toffee To Go has been creating delectable toffees using the finest ingredients including farm-fresh butter, premium chocolates, California almonds, and Georgia pecans.
In fact, the toffees are so irresistible, Oprah included them on her list of Favorite Things in the December 2013 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine!
As the Director of Business Development and the daughter of Toffee To Go’s founders, Taylor has the unique opportunity to build her career while also helping build her family’s legacy.
In this Q&A, we learn more about the lessons she’s learned so far in her career, why she loves her job, and more.
What’s the biggest business lesson you’ve learned this year?
The biggest business lesson I have learned this year is the importance of being able to adapt to change. The pandemic has changed the way we connect with our clients and has forced us to work through a lot of “unknowns.” We all did our best as a company to stay positive and hopeful and thankfully, in the end, still had a very good year of toffee sales. We really appreciate our customers and how they recognize the importance of staying connected with clients, family members, and friends through gifting.
What’s your favorite aspect of your job?
My favorite aspect of my job is working with my family. I learn so much from my parents, Jim and Lisa, and really enjoy working on projects as a team. I am very proud of the company they have built and love seeing how they balance each other with different strengths. They allow me a lot of creative freedom in how to expand our sales and always recognize the importance of finding humor whenever possible and not sweating the small stuff.
What’s your best piece of advice for someone who’s starting their first business development position?
The piece of advice I would give for someone working in a business development position is to network and form genuine connections with others. The support of the community is very powerful, especially in the Tampa Bay area. I am grateful for the clients I have met by being a part of my college’s alumni association (Go Gators!) along with other organizations that host events such as the Junior League, South Tampa Chamber of Commerce, Creative Loafing, Yelp, and more.
What do you like most about working in Tampa?
I really enjoy the local support that the Tampa community has to offer. There is a big push to support local businesses and to shop small. Entrepreneurs in the community often offer support to one another rather than strictly compete and I think that is something you won’t see in many larger metropolises. There isn’t a scarcity mindset but more of “how can we support you and help you grow” with the mentality that there is enough business to go around. It is very exciting to see other companies succeed in the Tampa Bay area and I love connecting with them and hearing their stories.
If you could only pick ONE toffee flavor to eat, what would it be?
How can I choose?! I love all three and even after enjoying the toffee for over 20 years, I am not in the slightest bit tired of it. But I think if I could really only choose one flavor, it would be our Milk Chocolate Almond. It was our original toffee flavor and always makes me nostalgic for a time when we were still cooking it in the family kitchen!