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2011 Chocolate Year in Review

By January 10, 2012Chocolate Business

2011 was an amazing, turbulent, extremely hard working year for us at The Secret Chocolatier. Every year is a hard working year for us. There are only 4 of us (well +1/4 if you include Logan.) 2011 though was a monumental shift for us.  Beginning in January our little shop was more tangible than ever with chocolate shop dreams becoming a reality. Like every construction project we were delayed and delayed and delayed some more with the added bit of blowing budgets, cost overruns, unexpected requirements slowly eating into our running capital.  Hey, who needs to get paid. /chuckle

Chocolate Construction Delays

If it weren’t for a great team we had assembled we might have cracked our shells through the process but we’re happy we hung in there.  We opened silently May 16th much to the chagrin of Chef Bill who thought we were going to have some time to get comfortable and ramp up slowly. Who needs to test their kitchen, let’s sell some chocolate!  Then in mid-June we held our grand opening party.  Still the busiest time we’ve ever had.  With all of our friends, patrons, followers, family, and people seeking what the commotion was about it was simply fantastic.

Logan Ciordia, The Big Easy in the Chocolate Shop

Newborn During the Chocolate Doldrums of Summer

The Summer began to sink in and our slower time of year let us get more comfortable with our new location and equipment.  Robin and I thought it was a good time for Logan Ciordia, our littlest chocolatier, to make an appearance. We have been so lucky to have a son who tolerates being in the shop for 10 hour stretches and enjoys watching us dip truffles or make cakes.  His favorite activity seems to be watching the mixers go round and round.  When he needs a nap he goes to Grandma who bounces him gently and sings a song that knocks him out cold.  As I write this he is napping behind me in his bassinet.  We are very lucky for this time with him.

Falling Chocolate Leaves, Halloween & More

The foothills of Fall snuck up on us and I was pulled out of the shop at a rather critical time, October.  Not only is it one of the most fun times to play with confections–I mean really, you get to make things look spooky, crazy, insane even and get to sell them as edible treats? How much fun.  No, I was sucked away into Federal jury duty on a case that ran over 3 weeks.  I really didn’t want to play in the shop, or go out and work on corporate gifts for the upcoming holiday season.  Listening to prosecutors and defense attorneys go round and round was much more entertaining (/sarcasm.)

The Secret Chocolatier in Charlotte, NC : Grand Opening PreparationsThe Chocolate Gauntlet of the Holidays

Before we knew it we were in a pitched chocolate battle of the holidays.  November came and went and the gauntlet of the December rush was overtaking us.  We had friends and family pitching in to help fold boxes, wait on customers, handle deliveries. It was a fun insanity that is bittersweet to see go.  We haven’t worked that hard or had that much fun in all of our time.  We shipped hundreds of boxes and sold thousands of truffles in such short order.  Knowing that each person who received our confections would enjoy them did our hearts good.

The Past is Past and the Future is Bright

2011 is done, it’s gone, and many parts of it are fading rapidly as we look ahead to the next chocolate storms on the horizon.  Our hard work in 2011 will be nothing compared to what we hope to accomplish in 2012.  We’re hungry for success and I am ready to see the family firmly  planted in the Charlotte scene.  It’s time to anchor ourselves for the journey ahead and I’m excited that my family is being powered by our passion.

Next Article, Chocolate Metrics

I was going to put it all here but this article has run long enough.. In my next upcoming post I go over just how much of our chocolate, cakes, and confections we produced for the year.  It’s always a fun metric to go over within the family but it gives an outsider an interesting view into how much work it takes to pull off what we do, even if it is just a beginning.


Andy is a jack-of-all trades. Technologist, designer, super palate enabled crazy individual. He is like a madman helping The Secret Chocolatier reach new heights and when he's not doing that, or entertaining his new son, he might be falling out of nearly perfect airplanes.