Donells Candies, Inc. was nominated, along with eight other business and three nonprofits, for  the 2023 Better Business Bureau Torch Awards for Ethics presented for the 25th year locally by the BBB Serving Northern Colorado and Wyoming Foundation.

Businesses and nonprofits were nominated by peers, colleagues, and customers during the spring and summer.

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The BBB's four-point Torch Awards criteria includes:

  • Character: Do the leaders of the organization behave intentionally and communicate with their leadership team, employees, customers and stakeholders in a way that is consistent with their beliefs?
  • Culture: Does the organization work toward a culture of trust through clarity of purpose, empowering employees, and opportunities for growth?
  • Customers: Does the organization employ consistent internal practices to build better customer relationships?
  • Community: Does the organization have programs, contributions and activities that return value to and support its community?

Award winners will be selected in December by an independent panel of judges composed of BBB board members, past Torch Award winners, and community leaders.

Winning organizations will be recognized during the 25th Anniversary BBB Torch Awards for Ethics Celebration scheduled for April 27, 2023 at the Embassy Suites in Loveland, CO.

Mike Stepp, owner of Donell's Candy, said "it's a big deal. We're excited about it. We were nominated once in the past, and it's really neat."

Stepp said the business is celebrating its 66th year and has kept it in the family all this time. Stepp's son Ryan is currently his business partner.

The candy store was opened in 1956 by Stepp's parents, Don and Elma, which is how the business got the name "Donell."

Kolby Fedore
Kolby Fedore

After Don and Elma passed, they "left very big shoes to fill in the company and family."

Stepp said his parents informed his own business ethics, and he tries to live up to their standard and do even more.

"They were really old school," said Stepp. "A handshake was a contract and customers were treated fairly."

Stepp says he tries to operate within the community and give back as much as he can.

Stepp is the President of the Library Board and Vice Chair of Advance Casper.

Ryan is the Vice President for Mimi's House.

They are currently working with an intern through the Better Business Bureau. Stepp said "It's kind of a double award, we have the opportunity to win the Torch award, and the intern has the opportunity to write the winning paper."

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