A fountain, a factory, and the Newfoundland Chocolate Company's ambitious plans for the future
Take a tour of the new chocolate factory
Things are getting bigger, better and sweeter for the Newfoundland Chocolate Company.
One of the province's largest chocolate producers is moving into a new, 10,000-square-foot facility at the Torbay Road Mall— complete with a chocolate fountain.
So I had a tour of the Newfoundland Chocolate Company’s new Factory, Cafe and Shoppe on Torbay Road. There’s a chocolate waterfall. <a href="https://t.co/oNS98vJ8no">pic.twitter.com/oNS98vJ8no</a>—@adamfwalsh
The reason behind the move is because the company simply ran out of space, said Brent Smith, "chief chocolate officer" and co-owner of the Newfoundland Chocolate Company.
He said the company's flagship space on Duckworth Street was spread out across several floors, making things difficult for production, and they didn't have room for expansion.
The tight quarters of downtown streets also made things difficult for packing their chocolate into trucks, especially on busy, high-traffic days.
"We couldn't be more proud of what we achieved on Duckworth Street, but now it's time to grow into a new facility that we could design from scratch. That's what we've created here," Smith said.
Now, the entire operation is on one level with plenty of room for shipping, receiving and for the customers.
But expansion isn't without its own issues, but doubts and sleepless nights have been consistent for Smith for the last 11 years, he said.
"Zero regrets. I can't imagine doing anything else. But, oh my God it's constant, wondering whether you're doing the right thing and self-doubt, but just jumping anyway and hoping that the next thing is going to work out," Smith told CBC Radio's St. John's Morning Show.
"We want the Newfoundland Chocolate Company name to be right across our country, and we want to share our love for amazing chocolate and our love for the most amazing place in the world with everyone from coast to coast in Canada, and God willing beyond that."
The new space, new products
On top of the retail space, and the production space, the NCC will be offering factory tours. But if you're not interested in the tour, customers can still view the factory and the creation of the chocolate from the shop.
The new space also includes an event space where Smith says the company will be offering chocolate making classes.
There are some new items being added to the menu as well — such as chocolate-covered potato chips, which Smith said the company never had the ability, the space, the equipment or the power to mass-produce until now.
Started from home
"Every single piece of chocolate that we do, we think of ourselves as ambassadors for Newfoundland and Labrador. Every little bar tells a story. Every box of chocolates tells a story," Smith said.
And that story began out of the basement of a home on Regina Place, where Smith and his wife began making homemade chocolate. They would then sell their products to local grocery stores such as Belbin's Grocery on Quidi Vidi Road and the Downhome Shoppe on Water Street in downtown St. John's.
Two years later the couple moved the company to its flagship production site and retail space on Duckworth Street. The new factory will include a café and retail space in the front, adding to the 10 other shops the NCC has across Newfoundland and the Maritimes, with more than 100 employees to its name.
"Like every other business in Newfoundland and around the world we've had our ups and down. Some years are better than others, but we're 11 years into it and we're continuing to grow at a time when our economy is being a little bit flat," Smith said.
"We're just really proud to be able to employ a lot of Newfoundlanders and folks in Atlantic Canada."
The grand opening of the new home for the Newfoundland Chocolate Factory is set for Friday — with a chocolate ribbon to be bitten through to celebrate the opening.
With files from Adam Walsh