Barb’s Brittles: From hobby to business

Barbara McGarrah.Photo courtesy WTXL Tallahassee

From simply trying to get rid of excess peanuts to now approaching 20 years of running a gourmet candy and ice cream shop, Barbara McGarrah displays what it means to be a consistent businesswoman.

Located at the Cottages by Lake Ella in Midtown, Barb’s Brittles offers an array of desserts including peanut brittle, cookies, pies, ice creams and more.

A native of Orlando, McGarrah moved to Tallahassee in the early ’80s and graduated from Florida State University with a degree in fashion design.  

McGarrah started making peanut brittle in college as a gift to family members for Christmas, in an effort to get rid of extra peanuts. McGarrah found that the best way to sell peanut brittle was at a craft fair in Tallahassee.

All McGarrah’s products are handmade in her store including her homemade ice cream recipe.

After that venture McGarrah was able to pursue different opportunities with her company, now leading her to a brick and mortar location selling over 25 different kinds of candy brittle.

Abby Crane, a regular customer, posted  comments about Barb’s Brittle in a recent Facebook post.

“If you haven’t tried Barb’s Gourmet Brittles at Lake Ella you are definitely missing out. They are wonderful. The owners are super sweet, and so are their treats,” Crane wrote.

Barb’s Brittles is one of the few Black, independently run dessert shops in Tallahassee. And much like many other small businesses, it had to adapt to the effects of COVID-19. 

According to the New York Times nearly 66,000 businesses as of March 1, have closed due to the effects of COVID-19.

Barb’s Brittle. Photo by Jashawn Johnson

McGarrah chooses to look at these circumstances as an opportunity to grow and expand the company in ways that she had not before. This includes an updated website where she now features newer products that they have not shared in the past, allowing them to make up for any possible loss due to the pandemic.

As the company continues to grow McGarrah sees it being known all over the world.

“I believe that this was something not destined by me but destined by someone above and I choose to follow His word … and we will show you how something so very small can be made into something big based on not what I do but what He chooses to do said,” McGarrah said.