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Chocolate Shop
September 7, 2003
4:14 am
theobroma
MIlwaukee, USA
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Forum Posts: 89
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September 7, 2003
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Hi
I’m planning to open a chocolate shop in the Midwest USA within the next few years… Any suggestions?
I’m concerned that only carrying chocolate will be like standing on one leg…
Should I hire a chocolatier to make little ‘chocolates’? Should I sell coffee or ice cream or tea also? I’d like to do chocolate fondeaus, have taste-testing parties, etc…
I’d love your feedback and ideas!
Kyle

Oh no! My Agustus!

Oh no! My Agustus!
September 7, 2003
3:07 pm
bobvilax2000
Seville, USA
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July 26, 2003
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I would defiantly suggest that you do other things than just chocolate. I’m sure this is completely regional, but from my experience in the east, there just isn’t a big enough market in the US for fine chocolate. People are content with Hershey’s. Maybe make a coffee/tea/hot chocolate shop with a big focus on chocolate, ie: have a variety of fine bars, have taste testing parties, fondue parties, offer education, etc. Hiring a chocolatier may be a good idea for the sake of being diverse, but I wouldn’t be looking through that display case. Chocolates just don’t do it for me. Sounds interesting, though. Keep us informed and I’ll come visit!

September 8, 2003
7:51 pm
theobroma
MIlwaukee, USA
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September 7, 2003
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thanks bob
I share the same suspicions… Too many americans are satisfied with pseudo-chocolate like Her****’s. And I’ve considered doing coffee/chocolate/tea… However, in my area, there are many good coffee shops. Places that roast their own beans, fresh daily. In the past few years there has been a coffee shop boom, though I think now they are falling off in numbers (flooded the market).
And, there was/is a very good tea shop in Minneapolis… a gorgeous place with very good tea. It always looked dead, no customers…
So, while I like the idea of pairing chocolate with tea and/or coffee, the local history of these businesses doesn’t bode well.. though I’m no expert business man.
I’ve also thought of ice cream, pastries/bread, fine wines and rare liquers…
And yes, a chocolatier may be a good idea. I’m not really into little dainty chocolates either, but a chocolatier should be very versatile, able to make tarts and cakes and pastries and such also.

I’ve been to Italy a few times, and in either Padova or Genova there’s a hot chocolate place that’s run kind of like an old american soda-shop. The key product is the hot chocolate, of which there are many flavors/varieties, served from a powdered envelope as a thick creamy goo. There are also sodas and liquers and coffee and solid chocolate. The quality isn’t the best, but the place has a good ambiance and seems to attrackt the customers, especially the young couples and teens.

Anyhow, thanks for the reply. I’d love more input and ideas.
Kyle

Oh no! My Agustus!

Oh no! My Agustus!
September 11, 2003
1:57 am
Martin Christy
London, United Kingdom
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Don’t get to down on the idea of a fine chocolate shop. Sure, that might not be your whole business, but the market for fine chocolate has been transformed in the UK in the last ten years, even though we generally like the ‘least fine’ chocolate in Europe (he says with caution!)

You may be ahead of your time, but I think this market will grow in the US as well. You can base it round fine chocolate buy also sell a range of related gifts, chocolates, bon-bons, seasonal items etc. Serve coffee and real hot chocolate, made with fine chocolate and you could be onto a winner.

Martin Christy
Editor
http://www.seventypercent.com

Martin Christy Editor www.seventypercent.com
September 13, 2003
11:01 pm
theobroma
MIlwaukee, USA
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September 7, 2003
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Thanks for the support Martin. Thinking maybe hand-made ice-cream too, and one day, if luck is good, an ice-cream and chocolate delivery truck! With bells!
kyle

Oh no! My Agustus!

Oh no! My Agustus!
September 13, 2003
11:38 pm
bobvilax2000
Seville, USA
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I was thinking that ice cream would be a good idea as well.

September 16, 2003
1:51 am
theobroma
MIlwaukee, USA
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Forum Posts: 89
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September 7, 2003
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Of course, being modern and hip and all, we’d have the organic chocolates and ice creams, the non-dairy ice-cream-like-substances, etc.
What do other people eat with chocolate? Some pastries, like pain au chocolate, can be very satisfying, as can chocolate tarts and the like. I wonder if I’m missing a big obvious choice.
I would like hot chocolates to be a specialty. Different flavors too: like the old aztec or mayan drink with cinnamon, chili, orange peels, etc.
I’d like to offer something that wasn’t sweet. Coffee seems the obvious choice, but I wonder if something else would work…

kyle
hey, does anyone know where my end tag (below) is from? Am I quoting correctly?

Oh no! My Agustus!

Oh no! My Agustus!
September 19, 2003
11:07 pm
bobvilax2000
Seville, USA
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Forum Posts: 128
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July 26, 2003
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How about some tea? I don’t think it really goes with chocolate, though. The only reason that I bring it up is because I’m sipping on a glass of red tea now. Mmmm… Mayan hot chocolate is very tasty. When I first read about it I had to try it since I like everything spicy! In fact, the Mayans are the reason that I love chocolate now, bless them. You could sell Valrhona covered ants. Doubt that would sell… Hmm… There is a great place here calle Panera Bread. Well, they sell all sorts of gourmet sandwhiches, soups, coffee, hot chocolate, muffins, and such. They don’t sell any chocolate based on the way that they’re run, but I don’t see why they couldn’t! While they’re run almost like a fast food joint, only with good food, you could run it a little more laid back and have display cases rather than menues. You know? By having it more of a friendly setting rather than a business setting, you could have your fondu parties and taste testing.

Doubt I was of any help. Just my mindless raving.
Your sig does sound familiar. What’s it from?

October 13, 2003
4:55 am
Joema
Cambridge, USA
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Forum Posts: 11
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October 13, 2003
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Is your sig from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory?
How about doing a monthly flyer with reivews and tasting notes of new chocolates, sort of like what is done with wines. COuld be sent out to all customers.

October 13, 2003
12:10 pm
Martin Christy
London, United Kingdom
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Forum Posts: 614
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July 31, 2006
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10

We’ve been planning to start a newsletter for a while, just have to get London Chocolate Week out of the way and too many other things to bore you with (launch the new shop design, get ready for the January London Chocolate Show, review this pile of bars in front of me, finish all my articles …). Am I whining? It’s in the plan anyway.

I’ll start a new thread for suggestions as to the content.

Martin Christy
Editor
http://www.seventypercent.com

Martin Christy Editor www.seventypercent.com
October 14, 2003
2:53 am
theobroma
MIlwaukee, USA
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Forum Posts: 89
Member Since:
September 7, 2003
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11

Hi people
Good news, maybe. More on that later.
Yes, Joema, thanks for noticing, my sig message is from the Wonka movie. Fat Agustus is drinking from the chocolate river, and falls in. His mother shouts, “Oh no! My Agustus!”. Something like that.

Maybe its best if I keep the good news hush hush for now, but I must ask:
Martin, has Peter mentioned our ideas to you?
thanks
Kyle

Oh no! My Agustus!

Oh no! My Agustus!
October 14, 2003
3:33 am
bobvilax2000
Seville, USA
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Forum Posts: 128
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July 26, 2003
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12

Aww, I don’t like secrets!

October 20, 2003
4:39 pm
ChocoBorn
Singapore
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Forum Posts: 5
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October 19, 2003
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13

HI Theobroma!
I think it’s a good idea to open a chocolate shop! In fact, I’m working on promoting chocolate culture in my country too! Maybe a chocolate specialty shop like yours will be a good start!!!

I don’t know abt the taste of your countrymen in US, but during my net-surfing, I came a across a few special recipes for chocolate beverages that you might want to try (at least for the novelty): Chocolate with coconut milk and chocolate with fresh sugar cane juice.

I hope the seasoned chocolatiers here won’t flame me for sharing these ideas, cos the best chocolate is always best taken knead! ;O)

November 11, 2003
11:23 am
tom finnerty
edinburgh, United Kingdom
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November 10, 2003
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Hi Theobroma,

We recently opened a chocolate shop in Edinburgh, we’ve only been open for four weeks now but the response to the shop has been very enthusiastic.
We are building up a steady trade, with many repeat customers.
We decided to go for quality produce only, which we though might be a bit of a risk, not really knowing how price-sensitive the local popultion would be but it seems to be paying off.
We’ve already got some nice write-ups in the local papers – The Edinburgh Evening News and The Scotsman (that article available on their website).
It took a good year of research to get everything in place but we feel it was worth it now and we are looking forward to a good Christmas.
On opening we’ve been offering tasting samples to people and once people taste what we are selling they usually come back for more – whether they have any experience of fine chocolate beforehand or not.
Best of luck if you decide to go ahead.

November 11, 2003
12:48 pm
Lone Ly
Oslo, Norway
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Forum Posts: 397
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October 10, 2003
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Hi Tom Finnerty,

Can you share the link to the review with us? I hope it is not too much to ask for.

Name of your shop, address?

Good luck! I’ll pop in as soon as I get to Edinburgh.

"Man cannot live by chocolate alone - but woman can." (Unknown)
November 11, 2003
1:51 pm
tom finnerty
edinburgh, United Kingdom
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Forum Posts: 29
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November 10, 2003
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Of Course…

Link is http://www.news.scotsman.com/a…..1230472003

although you may have to register….the article is entitled
‘Time to wake up and smell the cocoa’.

The shop is called

So CoCoa
98 Raeburn Place
Stockbridge
Edinburgh
EH4 1HH

Phone 0131-3328922.

Cheers !

March 19, 2004
5:16 am
theobroma
MIlwaukee, USA
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Forum Posts: 89
Member Since:
September 7, 2003
Offline
17

Hi
I apologize for ignoring this thread for so long, though I started it. Luckily, Joe was able to get in touch with me, and we have been having fun bouncing ideas back and forth.
I will do my best to get in touch with Tom, as Edinburgh is my favorite city in the world, and to be able to communicate with him would be a boon to me.
I fear it is impolite to talk business to much on this forum, as Martin is running a business of his own, and I have no wish to compromise it. So, unless he says otherwise, I’ll try to keep this discussion to personal emails.
I would appreciate, however, comments on what people envision in an ideal chocolate shop.
Best wishes to all,
kyle

Oh no! My Agustus!

Oh no! My Agustus!