updated by @amber-b: 04/13/15 04:09:32AM
I'm in a similar situation where I have just opened a small storefront but want my candies to really stand out and look awesome in a fabulous display case. I'm willing to invest a little money to get the right case, but what I'm finding out is that the "right case" is hard to figure out.
I understand that for the candy it's ideal to have a cooling and humidity controlled case designed for candy. However, a leading chocolate maker and retailer in my local area says he got rid of all his cooled cases in his shop because they produced way too much heat that it ruined the products out of the case. I share the space with a bakery, and I can't afford to get a case that runs so hot that I have to add a hundred dollars onto my electric bill to crank up the A/C in the store to keep from impacting their products.
His advice was that if the A/C is sufficient in the store that should be enough to keep the display case good but my experience so far has been that it's not. I want to keep my chocolates around 65 degrees or so; I can't keep my store that cold. At about 72 I get people complaining that it's chilly in there and the A/C runs constantly. I'm also in Ohio which I'm sure is about the most humid place on the planet lol.
I'm using a dry case now and I stick many candies in the fridge at night which of course is creating horrible condensation and giving me sticky chocolate on those. The ganache truffles are sealed up tight before they go in so they are okay, but I'm not sure what to do about my dipped candies. I want to improve their shelf life by keeping them cool but the fridge is just too cold and wet, and it sounds as though a cooled case might be a mess too.
I'd love to hear what anyone with a really small shop is doing - cooled or dry case - and how it's affecting your utility usages, and if anyone had a similar problem with a cooled case running too hot. I'd love any advice!
Thanks! (And thanks for the thread, Amber... so far very helpful!)
I think your advice about "middle steps" is very good. I began as a hobby, and have been fortunate enough to have the middle step of renting space on an hourly basis at a local bakery/gift shop where i make and sell my chocolates. it has been working well, but i am always looking for ways to grow the business and have thought about our local farmers markets. But my big question is how to do you keep the chocolate from melting? is it as simple as coolers? what about display chocolate?