The Chocolate Life

Discover Chocolate and Live La Vida Cocoa!

the new shop: crisis as opportunity

The day the health department showed up at our little chocolate factory to ask if it was really true that we were storing chocolate off-site was right in the middle of the period our employees were making each other cry.

For the last four years, Sweet Earth Organic Chocolates has been situated on the second floor of my sister-in-law Joanne Currie's bustling restaurant and bakery, Splash Cafe, in San Luis Obispo, CA. We have a pretty display case downstairs and a successful online business selling organic, fair trade chocolate in as many forms as we can invent.

My husband Tom is a truly great chocolatier, Joanne is a brilliant manager, and we have a crew of dedicated and creative employees. The reviews are great. We even won the SF Chronicle's Battle of the Bittersweets. So the orders keep coming: more big bags of bulk chocolate made to Tom's specifications, more co-packing contracts, more holiday business, more new items all the time.

All of which equals less space.

When the third employee came to Joanne's office in tears (there just wasn't enough room for that many people to do their work well) the moment she got off the phone with the health department, Joanne knew it was time to look for more space. Luckily for us, there was an empty storefront just down the street at 1445 Monterey. The economic downturn worked in our favor. We discovered we could rent a retail space for what we would have paid for warehouse space a couple years ago.

So the shop is a bonus, and I am having the best time outfitting it. This blog will mostly be about that. I'm collecting chocolate books for a library (any suggestions?) and buying old chocolate molds, pots, cups and tins to sell, designing the windows and even painting the furniture, while Tom and his crew invent new delicacies for the cases.

We're planning to be open in early July. I can't wait!

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Comment by Andre Costa on May 29, 2009 at 11:10am
This is so inspiring! I am just now (after my 40th Spring has passed me by) starting my chocolate journey. I know it is going to be a long one, but it will probably be a fun ride!
Keep the posts coming...just the kick in the behind I need to get myself going!

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