BEATRICE - A Beatrice business is taking a fun twist on snacking, with hopes to modernize the downtown area. Wicked Good Foods provides freeze dried fruits and candies and they opened their doors at 518 N. Ella St. on Saturday.

The store provides a number of products including candies and fruits, as well as purses, tumblers, and honey, with almost all locally made. Aaron Schoen co-owns the store with his wife Kylee. Aaron talked about the benefits of freeze dried snacks.

“It saves about 97% of the nutrients in fruits,” Schoen said. “Candies, they change as well. They morph into a product that’s safer on the teeth for people and also flavor is enhanced in just about everything we do.”

The name "Wicked Good Foods" comes from the reaction Kylee and Aaron had when they tried their products.

“We were just trying to figure  out a name that kind of reflected how amazing the taste was when we tried it ourselves and decided to move with this venture,” Schoen said.

Schoen says the process of freeze drying the products can be a delicate one that differs in difficulty depending on the item. Wicked Good Foods does all of it themselves.

“The candies we just unwrap and cut them smaller sometimes,” Schoen said. “As for the fruits and vegetables, we take the fresh produce, cut it up, inspect it, make sure it looks good. Put it on trays, put it in the freezer to pre-freeze, and put them in the freeze drier as we need them.”

When it comes to what Wicked Good Foods would like to provide to the community, for Schoen, it’s about providing a shot in the arm to one of Beatrice’s signature areas.

“I’d like to see downtown get more businesses to it,” Schoen said. “When other businesses see one thriving, others may chime in, and hopefully provide some life down here.”