A Sweet 16 Makes Her School 18,000 Candy Bars

updated 12/03/1984 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/03/1984 AT 01:00 AM EST

If I didn't luuuvvv chocolate, I wouldn't be in this business," says Kim Merritt, a 16-year-old with brownish blond hair and a hint of a magnolia accent. As proprietor since she was 11 of Kim's Khocolate Korner in Cumberland, Md., Kim peddles goodies in nearly 200 shapes to local shops, clearing about $1,000 a year. But that is peanuts compared with her latest assignment. Kim spent two months filling a contract from Bishop Walsh High School, where she is a senior, to produce 18,000 candy bars, which the school's 420 students have been selling for the past month to raise funds. The project involved 3,000 pounds of chocolate, 20,000 sheets of gold foil wrap, 30 ingot-shaped molds and so much of Kim's house that the family rec room began to look like an edible Fort Knox.

At $1 per candy bar, Bishop Walsh High School pocketed 520, and Kim 480, giving her a $3,000 profit, which she will spend on a tour of Swiss chocolate factories this summer. To fill her tall order, she melted a blend of two chocolates in the school kitchen, poured the goo into molds, froze the candy bars with the help of Mom and 37 classmates who wrapped and then stored them at home.

Kim has been dabbling in chocola-teering since her grandmother first bought her some chocolate along with three animal molds. She was soon hustling her bonbons on street corners, leading to her first lesson: "We learned the hard way not to sell chocolate in 90-degree weather." Her line now includes peanut-butter truffles and multicolored chocolate chips.

After graduation Kim, a National Honor Society student, hopes to attend college part-time and move on to a larger market. She has already had a nibble from a Washington, D.C. venture capitalist. "Right now it's just in the talking stages," she says wistfully. "But I'd really like to be a millionaire."

From Our Partners