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A Year in Review, 2013 Exploration in Chocolate

By January 4, 2014October 13th, 2014Chocolate Business, The Chocolate Experience

Last year I didn’t quite find enough time to do a proper (numeric) end of year and I always regret that. If I don’t take this very small window, this eye of our seasonal storm, to make note of our accomplishments for the year then I may not.

Those who have followed us this long know that we like being open and honest with who we are. It is amazing to think that 6 years ago this upcoming March we started this little venture. My, my, my how things change, grow, and surprise you.

First Our Thanks

For the past two years we’ve had during peak season a small squad of volunteers that sweep in and give us their time. We laugh, rub elbows, eat enough chocolate to give anyone a buzz and just have a good time. We wouldn’t be able to accomplish what we have done without their help.

  • April
  • Brad
  • Donna
  • Kathy
  • Mary
  • Matthew
  • Michaele
  • Page
  • Tamela
  • Rick

If you would like to be on our roll call for some volunteer work sign up on our Volunteer List.

Our First Intern

We also had a first this year, an intern. She was determined, hard working, down to earth and just fun to be around. She slugged it out with us so well we decided to hire her and are appreciative. Welcome and thanks Abby.

A new arrival to our intern program is Emily. Coming in during our peak season isn’t easy but it is appreciated.

People Matter, Part-Timers

We couldn’t handle expansion without bringing new, brave souls on board. Especially during the holiday season. We got some fantastic help from some new part-time and seasonal helpers. A big thanks–

  • Allyson
  • Jamie
  • Lell
  • Natalie
  • Tristan

A Tale of Chocolate, Confections, and Cakes

I really enjoy putting together our sales figures for the year. Not for the cash counting, because I can assure you we take so little and reinvest so much that it’s going to take years for us to really be profitable. That’s just the way business is, if you follow the romantic notions they will lead you astray. We are a family of incredibly hard workers. We demand a lot of ourselves but you don’t get anywhere in this life by just watching it go by.  I like to go through this exercise because Chef Bill, the family and everyone should know how much happiness we spread through our efforts. We’ve come a long way and our numbers help show the picture. The last time I was able to do this was in 2011.

27,000 Chocolate TrufflesInternational Chocolate Awards 2013 - Silver - Americas

What do you get with 845 pounds of chocolate truffles? A lot of smiling faces. As our shop has entrenched itself we’ve grown our product line and have started to shrink our truffle line. Variety is the spice of life.

Entering our first juried exhibitions this year we took home a America’s Silver for our Cardamom Chocolate Truffle. For a first timer we’re pretty stoked and looking forward to trying even harder next time.

500 pounds of Chocolate Solids

Chocolate, tempered milk, dark, white. Shaped into lollies, bunnies, skeletons, and more. Out of 500 pounds we created 26,000 chocolate shapes over the year. It’s even hard for us to imagine.

9,000 Caramels

Whether you like a dark chocolate sea salt caramel or perhaps a creamy milk chocolate caramel we continue to satisfy.

5,525 Bon Bons

They aren’t called good-goods for nothing. Robin was on a whirlwind this year crafting quite an array of tasty filled bon bon treats. I don’t think she’s slowing down any time soon, so enjoy the ride.

1,550 pounds of Chocolate Barks

Whether you liked it salty, sweet, fruity, or spicy, I worked on a number of chocolate barks filled with an array of delicious ingredients. 2014 is going to have a few newcomers as well so be on the watch.

575 pounds of ToffeeThe Secret Chocolatier Toffee Award

Oh the boon and bane of our family. We make some really killer toffee. Late in 2012 I spent 3 months working out a recipe and style of toffee. You liked it. A lot of people liked it. Taking my small recipe and expanding it to larger and larger batches has gotten quite dangerous for us. Coming soon to our family is some new equipment which will give us less burns and more satisfaction for your satisfaction. In the meantime though, we love you so much we hurt ourselves. Hehe!

Our product line has grown and so has the list to go through, for the remainder I’ll just simplify.

  • Enrobed Brownies & Brownie Pops: 4,277

    Naked brownies are good, but wrapping them in more chocolate is better.

  • Chocolate Dipped Graham Crackers: 1,910

    Simple and delicious.

  • PB Porcupine: 1,900

    Creamed organic peanut butter, lightly sweetened makes for a good afternoon treat.

  • Chocolate Coated Pretzels: 1,400

    A lot of salty crunchy fans out there.

  • Chocolate Dipped Cherries: 810

    We’re glad we found a preservative free, juicy, large cherry source. One however is not enough.

  • Coconut Macaroons: 570

    Whether drizzled in chocolate or the chocolate-chocolate-chocolate (triple chocolate) version these gluten free macaroons don’t sit around long.

  • Craft Chocolate Bars: 610

    Supporting American craft chocolate makers is a passion of ours.

  • Cake-in-a-Jar: 550

    Decadent and sultry cakes that travel, gift, and are devoured well.

  • 90 Cakes, 250 Cake Slices, 100 Chocolate Tortes

    Birthday, anniversary, weddings, and more. We love to be a part of a party.

The list could go on but that’s most of it. All in all we crafted a plethora (yea.. great word) of chocolates, confections and cakes. Doting on them and then herding them to you for enjoyment.

2014, Chocolate Conquest

The new year lay before us. We’ve expanded our stores and now occupy an area of South Charlotte. Some equipment choices will help us manage growing demand. New treats and offerings are being developed. We listen, and listen, and listen to your ideas and are working on putting them in motion. We’re still small, still agile, and this year will probably be a record setting year of work but we feel great about it.

Thank You

I say it a lot because it’s often forgotten or not heard. We are where we are because people like you trust us, love us, and want to see our family succeed. Each year doesn’t get any easier. Becoming established takes a grueling amount of work and time, but when you come in and support us, smile, laugh and share with us, it is all worthwhile.

We’re growing up. It was a fabulous 2013 and we are ready for what lay ahead in 2014. Thank you.


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.