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Posted: April 1st 2019

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Article Courtousy of Cape Publishing - Cape May Magazine

Talk about young and hungry. On Memorial Day 1972, when most high schoolers were heading for the beach or summer jobs, Joe and Paul Bogle were launching their first business.

Just 17 and 15 years old, the industrious brothers had persuaded not only their parents but several influential businessmen and a local lender to support their new enterprise: the Fudge Kitchen, at 21st Street and the Boardwalk in North Wildwood.

What they lacked in business savvy, the teens more than made up for in energy and optimism. “We were just kids, and that was to our advantage,” says Paul Bogle. “Every hurdle we came up against, we just figured out a way to go around it.”

More than 47 years later, the Bogle brothers preside over a candy-making empire that produces 300,000 pounds of handmade fudge each year, along with saltwater taffy, specialty candies, chocolate-covered pretzels, coconut macaroons, and other confections.

With six locations in Cape May, Wildwood, Stone Harbor and Ocean City, the Original Fudge Kitchen serves customers close to home, and also ships its products around the world.

The Main Ingredient

Making fudge is pretty simple: just blend together sugar, cream, a little butter and vanilla or chocolate, then beat them in a copper pot (only copper will do, because it distributes heat evenly for a smooth consistency).

But the main ingredient of the Bogle brothers’ success, then and now, is good old-fashioned hard work—a habit they
cultivated early. At just seven years old, during family vacations to Cape May, Joe was already peddling newspapers on the beach. Later, he and Paul set up shop each Sunday outside Our Lady Star of the Sea Church—one at the front door, one at the side—pitching papers to the faithful. They sold the Philadelphia Inquirer and Bulletin, The Baltimore Sun and The Pittsburgh Press. Their profit: two cents per paper.

But Joe’s real training ground was Sagel’s Candy Kitchen, once a mainstay of the Cape May promenade. Year after year, Joe returned to the seasonal position, and forged a deep bond with his boss, Harry Sagel, who was in his 80s.

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