The Footes understand that small business is all about relationship, the ones you build with your customers are equally as important as the ones that you build with your suppliers. Heather points out that their suppliers know them well and what they are looking for when it comes to ingredients and they will set things aside for them. Michael followed that up with, “We know our suppliers and they know us. We invite them to our location so that they can see what we do, that way they have an idea of what goes into the product, what kind of effort. Sometimes people lose sight. When they see hundreds and hundreds of choc- olates, they assume it’s all coming from a giant factory when in reality it’s a two-person enter- prise in a small building. It puts us all on even ground.”
“Production has always been our biggest chal- lenge.”
“We realizedweneeded to find more than a job. ”
“We know our suppliers and they know us.”
recipe passed down through the generations – a kind of “I used to make them at home, but now I make them for everyone else feel.” You do not have to talk to Michael very long to get an understanding of his commitment to the business and the craft. “We’re very hands-on. The fondant we make is a maple syrup-based fondant that Alan created. He actually got the original recipe from The Joy of Cooking and adapted it and adapted it to make it work for what he, and we, were looking for. He was also very good friends with local maple syrup producers – actually the same people we continue to get our maple syrup through. He really studied the product by talking to his friends, the producers here in the Wentworth Valley, and figured out a way to make it complete - ly smooth. It has an amazing texture and taste and it’s fairly simple to make. From there, my wife usually does the rolling of the centres and then we hand-dip them into the chocolate and then use a small wire tool to extract them. We really need to understand the look, the feel, the smell, the taste of properly tempered chocolate.” Michael and Heather are committed to support- ing local suppliers and farmers, using only the best, locally sourced blueberries, and cranberries. Michael explained. “Things we can’t source locally like walnuts and ginger, are sourced in New Bruns-
wick. Everything we can have produced in Nova Scotia is and anything we can’t we try to source it in the Maritimes. Thanks to an amazing craft dis- tilling industry in Nova Scotia even the rum we use in one of our truffles is from here.”
When we ask Michael and Heather about how the pandemic has impacted the business, Michael’s response was positive, but highlighted a challenge for most small businesses. Michael explained that other than a short closure in March of last year with the initial outbreak of COVID-19 that the company was able to pivot foot traffic customers to their newly revamped website, online driven sales actually allowed them to see an increase in sales for 2020 a trend that has thankfully continued over into 2021. But as Michael points out, increase sales put their focus on one of their greatest challenges. “Production has always been our biggest chal- lenge. Because all of our products are handmade, it takes a long time to produce. Being a growing small company, we are always having to review and revise our processes to meet the needs of our customers without sacrificing the quality of the brand. Being able to produce enough products for the demand is a tough job in itself, but we are willing to put in the time to maximize efficiency if it means keeping our product off automated production lines.
It is great to see how far Michael and Heather have come with the Appleton Chocolates brand over the past five years since our first interview with the couple and we are confident that they have amazing things to come in the next five years. Just remember you don’t have to want until the pandemic is over to try these amazing treats as Appleton Chocolates are only a click away.
“We’re very hands-on.”
FEBRUARY 2021 • SPOTLIGHT ON BUSINESS MAGAZINE
SPOTLIGHT ON BUSINESS MAGAZINE • FEBRUARY 2021
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