Initially, wanting to project a hip, counterculture image, Steffani switched the company's name to Eat Me Now Inc., a play on a line from Lewis Carroll's "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland." But later, as the company tried to establish itself in the mainstream food industry, Steffani realized she should deep-six the Eat Me Now name for the sedate Generation Foods.
Chiefly through Scott's salesmanship, Generation Foods has sold its candy line into the 7-Eleven and Circle K convenience stores, big steps for the small firm that had previously sold its goods chiefly at specialty shops.
Steffani and Scott decline to reveal annual sales today, but say it has grown several times since its 1996 level of $300,000. It's also developed a number of new candy products, such as Jack Black's Pirate Gold Gum, which turns mouths blue; Crave, a sour powder in a plastic tube; and Melt Down, liquid candy with a gummy worm.
The company has also struck a deal with Hot Rod magazine to make and sell a line of candies and soft drinks bearing the enthusiast magazine's name.
And siblings who have bitter falling-outs can come together again.
Steffani and Sterling patched up their differences several years ago. Sterling, now the owner of Botanical Habitats, a South Carolina-based maker of gift potpourri, has a deal in which Generation Foods assists the company in building its national distribution network.
"Steffani and I are probably closer now than we ever have been," he said.
As Generation Foods plots its future, Steffani seems firmly committed to keeping her family in the business, despite the potential pitfalls.
It's worth it, she feels. "You know when you argue you're going to be there the next day," she said.