It is not every day you meet a local hero. And certainly not while eating a hot dog. Tucked behind Hometown Dogs is perhaps Fountain Hills best kept secret for made from scratch cookies, candies, brownies and handmade chocolates galore. I stumbled upon Goodies Galore, a family-owned sweet shop, while eating at Hometown Dogs. Owner Judy stopped by and encouraged us to come in for some samples. As she walked by, J.R. of Hometown Dogs mentioned, “you know she’s famous? She helped create over 2000 job opportunities for people in Arizona.” In talking with Judy, I learned that she didn’t set out to be an activist, but she pioneered the passage of the Arizona cottage food law that legalized the commercial sale of home baked goods (with stipulations) in 2011. This has allowed many people to earn extra income and in some cases, start a new career.
The Accidental Activist
Judy owned and operated a successful chocolate confections shop, Jus’ Chocolate, in Fountain Hills for 20 years. After having a stroke in 2003, she was forced to close her store to focus on her recovery. Ten years later, she was eager to get back into business, but didn’t have the financial resources to open another retail store and commercial kitchen. She planned to sell directly to retailers and farmers markets, but she learned that selling goods from her home kitchen wasn’t legal. Judy learned that many other states had passed cottage food laws, but Arizona had no such law. Eventually she contacted State Representative John Kavanaugh, who was skeptical of getting a cottage food law in Arizona passed. She persisted, and soon found herself speaking at the State Capital. The bill was passed in 2011, and has created opportunities for several thousand people in Arizona.
Open since Dec 2013, Judy now operates Goodies Galore with her son, Ed, by selling chocolates and baked goods made in her home kitchen. But Judy hasn’t stopped there. She is now working towards the passage of a new food license for Maricopa County that would encourage cottage food growth via less stringent commercial requirements, which happen to be very costly. This new Maricopa county license would allow her to build a commercial kitchen for baked goods in her new store. The impact of this license classification will be a game changer for many thriving food businesses. Many are unable to successfully scale their growth due to the high cost of renting commercial kitchen space.
- Judy is originally from Joliet, Illinois, and moved to Fountain Hills in 1981, when the population here was about 900 permanent residents.
- Judy got her start by working for a bakery trading her labor for nuts to make candies.
- She gained notoriety for becoming the official chocolatier for the Superbowl XXX Host Committee.
- Judy can’t remember who played in Super XXX, but remember the team colors because she hand rolled hundreds of chocolate footballs in colored foil for the big event.
- Judy was not tempted in eating any of the chocolate footballs, because they were milk chocolate. She prefers the dark stuff.
- She is passionate about helping others understand the cottage food law in starting their own businesses. She admits, she initially pursued it’s passage for her own interest, but soon realized how many people she was impacting, and is proud of that fact.
- When asked what her favorite item is in the store she said “hands down, the people”.
Goodies Galore Review
So are her chocolates and baked goods worth all of the legal fuss? Damn straight. Their high-quality swiss chocolate is smooth and subtle. There is an assortment of desert tortoises (their version of a turtle), ganache truffles, and other novelty items. The pistachio bark and chocolate covered ninja nuts are my personal favorites. The chocolate ninja nuts have a hint of wasabi heat complimented by the creaminess of the chocolate and the crunch of nuts. Even my toddler was a fan!
Judy takes pride in making baked goods from scratch the way your grandma would have made them with high quality ingredients without any preservatives. I have gone in on Mondays, which is her cookie day. They are to die for good. My favorite so far is anything she does with blueberries. Her blueberry almond cookies are in a word…incredible. I recommend stopping in on the store for cinnamon rolls and sticky buns on Fridays.
So next time you’re strolling Avenue of the Fountains, look for the Goodies Galore sign, stop in for a warm greeting from Judy and Ed, and sample some of their addictive chocolates and baked goods. They invite special orders for baked goods and candy. Also, be on the lookout for our next giveaway post featuring chocolates from Goodies Galore just in time for Valentines Day!
16820 E Avenue of the Fountains
Fountain Hills, AZ 85268
Hours: Tues thru Fri, 10am-5pm, Sat 10am-2pm