There are marshmallows you get in a bag at the grocery store — the kind you can smell through the plastic as you approach that section in the aisle.
Then there are real marshmallows — the ones that make you realize there can be a real freshness to these creations, both in flavor and texture.
That’s what Martha Ware was after years ago, which led her to her own business, Mallow Box, in The Shops at Willow Bend in Plano.
“I saw these little marshmallows dipped in chocolate,” says Ware, who at the time was looking through Pinterest posts for something to make.
But the Brazil native wasn’t getting exactly what she wanted.
“I thought, ‘What if I started making the marshmallow?’” she says.
We’ve all been there, right? When my friend and former colleague Rose Baca said she loved marshmallows, I embarked on the science experiment that was (strawberry) marshmallows. It’s a process that does produce a better product.
Similar to other small business owners, Ware garnered compliments constantly. This led to her working through the Texas Cottage Food Law to sell her product, but then she got in with Nordstrom at Stonebriar Centre in Frisco.
“I had 45 days to find a kitchen,” she says, because the Cottage law required a kitchen outside the home for selling at a place like that.
She ended up selling her product there for one year.
“It was really good. From there, Willow Bend invited me last year for Santa,” where she’d have a table.
She also pursued her gig at a kiosk, but she wanted something other than that.
“It’s hard to display, people [selling] can be aggressive,” which makes it more difficult for the customer, she says.
“I went to give the keys back, and I said, ‘I just don’t think it’s the right thing for us … Maybe one day we can be in your food court,’” she says.
And 45 days later, she’d have to get herself a menu to sell marshmallows in the mall’s food court.
And they really are good marshmallows. Ware has a marketing background, and she adjusted her own strategy as people (unlike myself) wouldn’t respond to “marshmallow” but excitedly did for “s’mores bar,” and she’s gotten plenty of catering from that.
“I found it a little hard for people to understand the concept of gourmet marshmallows,” she says. “People kept wanting s’mores.”
So s’mores is the main way she gets people in. She’s since quit her day job in marketing and now spends her days here, selling marshmallows topped with syrup and candy, as well as elaborate shakes.
“It’s been a little leap of faith here,” she says. “When you dream, you have to dream big. I would love to franchise it.”
The marshmallows really are good on their own — you can get them that way at the counter, or purchase them pre-packed (which also has boozy ones available). The shakes come off as expensive at about $10 a pop, but once you watch time pass for a few minutes then get this heavy cup full of toppings, you get it.
Made-from-scratch marshmallows take a lot of attention, and Ware says she’s nailed down the process. As they say, they didn’t invent marshmallows, they just made them better.
Mallow Box, 6121 W. Park Blvd., FC109, Plano.