Prospect Brownies - A taste for good
Brownies are delicious but some may feel they are just too good to be true. If you eat ones made by Prosperity Brownies then you'll be helping vulnerable children at the same time...
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HIDDEN within an industrial estate at Shoreham-by-Sea is the delicious smelling Prosperity Brownies. As soon as you step into their work place you are hit by the mouth-watering smell from the oven. Owners Paul and Jane Hatcher have run the company for five years.
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“It’s my job to ensure the brownies are delicious and Paul is in charge of ensuring they get eaten by as many people as possible!” explains Jane.
It all began early 2005. “I decided that I must be able to make more money than juggling two part-time jobs,” she says. “At the same time I believed that I could become a vehicle for prosperity and positive change in the lives of abused children. I had been reading some Old Testament scriptures concerning prosperity and how God has blessed each one with an ability to create wealth.
“I found these ancient truths challenging, inspiring and empowering. The family sat around the dining table with my sisters and shared the thoughts of baking and selling chocolate brownies and three months later, Prosperity Brownies was born! For us, the company is simply a means to an end. We are deeply saddened and moved by the devastating amounts of child abuse that takes place and feel compelled to do something to prevent it in any way that we can so we decided for every brownie we sell, 10 percent of our profits go to the children’s charities that we are in partnership with.”
Initially Jane planned to try and sell some brownies to other mums outside the school gates on a Friday afternoon but before she even got that far, a friend mentioned to a local tearoom about the brownies and they said they would love to see some samples.
“We gave them some samples but Jane was convinced the batch was either a little too cakey or dry,” says Paul. “I was asked to make a phone call and explain the reasons for them not being quite as good as they should be but the immediate response was “I don’t know what you’re talking about, we think they’re marvellous, and we’ll have forty of them tomorrow!”
With this initial encouragement every Saturday afternoon, they’d pack the children into the car with a whole bag of samples and go into Brighton and Hove looking for prospective customers.
“Pretty soon, we had more than 10 caf�s and delis ordering on a weekly basis,” explains Jane. “Once a week, on baking day, the entire house would fill up with trays, ready to go into the tiny oven and hot trays cooling down and our children waiting to go out for dinner as there was no space to prepare, let alone eat any home-cooked food!”
Jane and Paul’s philosophy is to bake their brownies with no naughty e-numbers or preservatives. “This way you get to taste the fresh and squidgy taste on the inside with a crisp topping. What makes a difference to our brownies is that we only use chocolate chunks not chips, with only the freshest of fruit. We never compromise our ingredients in order to line our own pockets and compromise your experience of a well- made brownie,” says Jane.
A year later, their volume of business was too much to contain within their small house. They sought guidance from their local business link adviser. “She said she knew of a local baker whose unit was vacant most days of the week,” explains Paul. “This was a pivotal moment for us, as it meant we could go from baking 12 brownies in a tray to 60, using an industrial mixer and oven. The very first time Jane poured a mix out of the bowl onto the tray, we thought we were in Jurassic Park, everything was so much bigger!”
Jane and Paul, pictured opposite, now make 1,000 to 1,500 brownies per week, although this is set to rise significantly with the new customers they have just secured. In the past twelve months they have produced nearly 70,000 brownies! This year they are getting into London. They’re supplying more than a dozen outlets and have launched a new line of flapjacks.
Other Sussex Brownies
Kates Cakes. Since 1989, what started as a cottage industry has well and truly grown with the help from an inspirational team. Their all-butter brownies are made with wickedly indulgent melted chocolate and artfully topped with a handful of rich chocolate chips.
Cocoa Loco. Also set up in 2005, Sarah & Rory make organic chocolate goodies including brownies. Their mission was simple, to bake joyous confections that melt in the mouth using organic ingredients and fun packaging, with minimum environmental impact.