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“How do we keep bringing change to this supply chain, and keep introducing new ways of doing things, so we don’t fall into the trap of ‘business as usual’?”-Sunita De Tourreil, Founder of The Chocolate Garage
Sunita De Tourreil has spend the last decade-and-a-half advocating on behalf of chocolate makers. In her craft chocolate retail venture, The Chocolate Garage, she experimented with various ways of funding new chocolate projects, in addition to conducting hundreds of tastings a year. Over the Garage’s 8-year run, Sunita watched small-batch chocolate makers from all over the world come into their own as craftspeople. Until its closing in 2018, having a bar for sale in the Garage was one of the highest honors in fine chocolate (in my humble opinion).
So what are the costs of running a retail business like the Chocolate Garage? Are they physical, mental, financial? From her home in California, in the U.S., we dive into the planning that goes into massive-scale chocolate tastings, as well as craft chocolate advocacy and the importance of building community with customers. I hope you enjoy listening to our conversation as much as I enjoyed having it.
Note that the topics of buying, selling, and marketing craft chocolate play heavily in my questions thanks to the two podcast episodes for which I was interviewing Sunita.
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Sunita (center) with two members of her “chocumentary” team.
Topics We Cover
- Sunita’s background in craft chocolate before it was called craft
- the most recent “Chocumentary” on Switzerland
- how Sunita has conducted hundreds if not thousands of chocolate tastings over the years, scaling from 15 to 20 tasters to upwards of 250
- Jim & the power of context
- the accessibility of tasting chocolate as a “fine food”
- acting as an advocate for small-batch chocolate makers (the chocolate whisperer)
- building community & trust in her retail space over 8 years in the Bay Area of California, USA
Connect With Sunita & Her Projects
Chocolate Garage on Instagram.
Chocolate Garage on Facebook.
Check out Happy Chocolate Experiences, Sunita’s tour company.
Connect With Chocolate On The Road
On Instagram: @chocolateontheroad
On Facebook: @chocolateontheroad
Show music is Roadtrip by Phil Reavis, and our transition music is We’re Gonna Be Around by People Like Us & Sweet Dreams by Lobo Loco.
To listen to the previous episode, click here.