Danae Bell studied to be a nurse, but it was making chocolates that helped put her through school.
These days, Bell splits her week between making chocolates and sweet creams at The Nut Shoppe and working part-time on the obstetrics floor at IU Health Goshen. She has been running the downtown Goshen chocolate shop ever since the previous owner retired in 2006.
“It’s fun to do both things,” she said. “I wouldn’t change it at all.”
At the time, she was still a nursing student at Indiana University South Bend. Danae had worked at The Nut Shoppe for the previous five years, but she had never thought about taking over the business.
“It kind of just fell into my lap that, ‘Hey, this is a great opportunity,’” Danae said. “It helped pay for my college, and I really enjoy the customer service. I enjoy making candy and being creative.”
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So she started going to more confectionary classes and doing more research, Bell said. She attended candy shows to find out what the national chocolate trends were, and how she could make them in her own shop.
It was through one of these shows that she met her husband, Justin Bell, who worked for a small gummy candy manufacturer in Crown Point. They got married in 2011 and now have a two-year-old daughter.
“Our daughter is here some days of the week, and our customers love that,” Danae said. “And so I get to spend time with her, and she doesn’t have to go to a sitter.”
The Bells still go to candy shows to find new ideas for their upcoming confectionaries. But the difference between The Nut Shoppe and bigger manufacturers, such as Hershey’s or Ghirardelli, is that their chocolates are individualized and higher quality, Danae said.
“We also make a lot of what we like to eat, that’s our main focus,” Justin said. “If we won’t eat it, we won’t make it.”