674 South Avenue | Rochester, NY 14620 | 585.461.2815 | Open 10am-9pm

Our Blog: Chocolate Talk

A Brief History of Hedonist Chocolates

Hedonist Artisan Chocolates was founded by partners Jennifer Posey and Zahra Langford in January of 2007. They found a shared kitchen space in the South Wedge at the back of the building at 674 South Avenue in Rochester's South Wedge neighborhood. They used Jennifer’s prior chocolate experience and Zahra’s design and marketing experience to put together a business plan, logo and our first chocolate truffle collections. Our first customer was Equal=Grounds Coffee House on South Avenue. The owners were generous enough to let us set up a chocolate counter inside the café where we sold our chocolates on commission. During the first year, we also began to retail our chocolates at farmer’s markets and craft fairs. Our primary form of marketing was doing tastings at various events around the area; we gave samples of our product away for free and talked to people about why it was special. In October of 2007, we launched the e-commerce portion of our website and started selling our chocolates online. By the end of the year we had our second wholesale customer, Ravines Winery on Keuka Lake. The year 2008 started off with a bang as articles about Hedonist in both the Democrat and Chronicle and Rochester Magazine helped to increase awareness of our tiny chocolate business. We continued to promote our business with chocolate tastings and started to grow an electronic mailing list to market to our customers directly. We expanded our product line to include chocolate bark and refined our year-round truffles, as well as established a schedule for our unique seasonal truffle collections. We started offering wedding and event favors in two and four piece boxes. We did our first Art and Chocolate collaboration with local artist Joe Guy-Allard. In the last quarter of the year we gained the exclusive use of our kitchen and opened a small retail store in the same space. Although the location is not ideal for retail, it offers our customers a unique exposure to a working artisan chocolate kitchen. Having our own retail location to direct people to was a huge improvement for us; it generated a new level of exposure that attracted more retail customers and wholesale accounts. We also started training our first apprentices. We began giving back to the Rochester community, making chocolate donations to local arts/cultural institutions and charities. In 2009 we entered partnerships with additional local retailers including Bully Hill Winery, the Keuka Wine Trail, Damiani Wine Cellars, Max Market and others. Establishing a chocolate counter in Parkleigh was one of our biggest achievements that year. Parkleigh is Rochester’s most popular gift shop and the one of the only other sources for artisan chocolate in the area. Hiring our first employee, who had trained with us as an apprentice, was another big milestone. We continued training additional apprentices, with one or two in the kitchen throughout the year. In addition to selling our chocolates online from our website, we created partnerships with online specialty food purveyors Foodzie.com and Foodoro.com. At the request of some of our customers, we started a blog at http://www.hedonistchocolates.com/blog and a Facebook page at http://facebook.hedonistchocolates.com to provide insight into our business and chocolate making process. In 2010 we added wholesale customers Billsboro Winery, Flight Wine Bar, Simply NY, and more. In addition to local growth we have started to garner national attention with mentions in Country Living magazine and Fast Company magazine. We gained over 1,200 Facebook fans, many of whom actively comment and engage with us on our page. We promoted directly to over 2,500 customers on our mailing list and received an average of 1,500 unique visitors per month to our website. In 2011 we continued to grow and took the opportunity to purchase the building we had been renting space in at 674 South Avenue. It took most of the year to work out the details of the sale. We closed on the building at the end of July, but did not take possession of our expanded space until September 1. For an overview of our press coverage and product reviews to date, visit http://www.hedonistchocolates.com/catalog/about.php.

Pleasure, handcrafted. Hedonist Artisan Chocolates are handmade with fresh ingredients to give as gifts or indulge yourself.
© 2018 Hedonist Artisan Chocolates. All Rights Reserved. Hedonist Artisan Chocolates 674 South Avenue Rochester, NY 14620 585.461.2815
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