Michael may not have been a chocolatier in trade, but he was not totally without experience. As Michael explains, “My father was a chef, so I have kitchen experience, but I’m actually a mechanic by trade. I was an automotive mechanic for a number of years. I eventually moved into the customer service side of things because I love working and interacting with people, the public. I met Heather in the automotive industry in Alberta – she’s actually from there. We have the administration side of that industry in common. We’re both experienced at managing people and interacting with customers. From there, I took a job in banking.” It made sense why Michael would want to come back to Nova Scotia, but it was interesting to hear Heather’s response when we asked about what motivated the couple to want to make the move to Nova Scotia. “We realized we needed to find more than a job. What we wanted was a lifestyle where the people you interact with are happy; you make them happy. Nobody wants to fix their car; nobody wants to go to the bank, so you generally get the hard edge of people in those industries. Now, making chocolate, you see everyone come through the door with a smile on their face.” As a customer I must agree with Heather, choc- olate does take me to my happy place. So, why Nova Scotia and a small town like Tatamagouche as this business venture could have been opened anywhere? Maybe they were motivated by another Canadian coffee and sweet treat entre- preneur Ron Joyce, who was the co-founder of Tim Hortons and from Tatamagouche. In case you are wondering, it had nothing to do with it. “The lifestyle in Nova Scotia in most cases is much more laid-back; it’s mostly a slower pace of life. We take the time to enjoy everything. We get to know our neighbours, we take the time to listen, share, and experience other people’s inter- ests. I guess the mantra is that it’s more about the quality than the quantity,” Michael explained. “Visitors – and consumers – from outside the province get that immediate view that we’re going to take the time to get it right. People envision a country kitchen feel where everything is hands-on and done with care. It’s going to be a

“Appleton Chocolates was created by my step-fa- ther, AlanHuestis in1997,”Michael explained. “He built a cabin in the woods across the street from his house with the intention of running a casual retirement business with his first wife, Merle. They settled on the idea of making maple-blue- berry chocolates. Sadly, two years into making the product and selling it locally, Merle passed away after a battle with cancer. Several years later, my mother, Beth, became a customer and then friend of Alan’s. Eventually they got married and continued to run the business – still in a very casual manner – with no set hours until it got so busy that they had to make a decision to expand or shut the company down. They decided to shut down in 2012. Fast-forward to 2014. My wife and I were living out West in Edmonton, Alberta and we had the opportunity to come back to Nova Scotia and takeover the company, so we decided to buy it from Alan.” “Appleton Chocolates was created by my step-father, Alan Huestis in 1997,”





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