Chocolate Graphics to open 5000 retail outlets

A Burleigh Heads-based international chocolate producer has burst onto the retail market in the US after signing a deal with Westfield in Newport Beach.

CHOCOLATE Graphics International has launched 35 production centres around the world since 1999 and tasted success on the back of its personalised treats.

Setting up its first production centre at Southport in 1999, the company has since paved its custom chocolate success stories into the UK, Mexico, Dubai, Russia, Vietnam, New Zealand and Chile. Next month Canada is set to become part of the Chocolate Graphics chain.

Company director John Taylor has set ambitious targets for his brand to be launched in 5000 specialty retail stores world-wide within the next five years, effectively quadrupling growth. The first retail outlets were trialled in Tennessee and Athens with stunning results. Boasting major accounts such as the Hilton Hotel, The Hyatt and the Coffee Club, the company is yet to be impacted by the downturn as consumers continue to gorge on ‘feel good’ confectionery.

“We are hitting it as hard as we can without being stupid,” says Taylor of the expansion.

“Retail was always part of our strategy and with real estate taking a tumble in the US, we will be capitalising on leasing opportunities. The retail presence will be very much an impulse buy market. Everybody loves chocolate.”

Chocolate Graphics has built profits through functions where chocolate business cards and personalised logos have become the choice de jour for corporates keen to impress clients and business partners. In Washington (US), the Chocolate Graphics production centre won the tender to supply the inaugural presidential dinner with 5000 chocolates featuring the face of President Barack Obama.

“The market for us is just one long piece of string,” says Taylor.

“There has been no downturn in chocolate sales from our licensees. We look for long-term gain; we are not interested in short-term results as such.”

With 23 international patents on its product lines, which include chocolate butterflies and hearts embossed with ‘I love you’, the company employs 22 staff in its Burleigh Heads head office, the US and New Zealand. Having control of the production centres that feed the retail outlets has consolidated the business model and created vast business opportunities for its licensees.

“The line of command goes right through the entire business from production to retail, giving total control to the licensees,” says Taylor.

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