SANFORD, Fla. – Nathan and Jenn Clark have spent nearly 10 years churning out marshmallows from their business, Wondermade, in Sanford and they plan to celebrate that milestone in June.
However, they feel as though they are providing more than just sweet treats to the community.
“What everybody fundamentally needs isn’t just a marshmallow, they really need to be loved and they need a place to love other people,” Nathan Clark said. “So we wanted to at the very beginning, build Wondermade around the idea that people are worth more than what they could ever give us.”
The name for the business comes from a poem in the Bible, according to Nathan Clark.
“King David writes that we are wonderfully made and it really caught my attention,” he said. “The first time I heard it, this idea that people might actually be created wonderfully by God — like, what if everybody was actually made pretty amazingly? Instead of going around finding people’s faults, (what if) we looked for what was incredible about them — because, you know, the truth is everyone is pretty amazing.”
The couple is really about spreading the love with their sugary confections. In fact, love is how Wondermade grew into the business that it is.
“The whole thing is a giant accident,” Nathan Clark said. “I would love to sit here and say, ‘Let me tell you my brilliant business plan,’ but really, Jen and I just fell in love with making the marshmallows and it just kept getting bigger and bigger. We don’t do a ton of things. We make really incredible flavored marshmallows — that’s all we sell down at Disney Springs. Up here in Sanford, we also sell ice cream. We do s’mores, we have events that we’re going to start bringing back, we have some fun drinks that we make, but we’ve always really kept it focused on the things that we love, and the ways that we can just connect with people where they are.”
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That connection and commitment to the community and their staff helped to see Wondermade through the challenges of the pandemic.
“The community was so great to support us,” Nathan Clark said. “Our staff was pretty amazing. There were people who were in better financial places who just said, ‘You know what, you just take me off payroll for a while, I’ll figure this out.’ And then Jenn and I just made a decision that we keep employing as many people as we could — didn’t have anything for them to do, it just kind of felt like the right thing. So (it was) scary because we watched our bank account just dwindle and get lower and lower.”
He said as soon as things started opening back up, customers came back out to support Wondermade.
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“Last year was actually the best year we’ve ever had,” Nathan Clark said. “People have just shown up and taken care of us and it’s been a pretty humbling and amazing experience.”
In the latest episode of Florida Foodie, Nathan Clark talks about how a gift for his wife ended up being the foundation of Wondermade. He also talks about what it’s like working with his wife and six children in the family business and also explains why he only wears blue shirts and red pants.
Please follow our Florida Foodie hosts on social media. You can find Candace Campos on Twitter and Facebook. Lisa Bell is also on Facebook and Twitter and you can check out her children’s book, “Norman the Watchful Gnome.”
Florida Foodie is a bi-weekly podcast from WKMG and Graham Media that takes a closer look at what we eat, how we eat it and the impact that has on us here in Florida and for everyone, everywhere. Find new episodes on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you download your favorite podcasts.