February 5, 2019
Manufacturing insights

Hopedale chocolate factory booming for Valentine's Day

Photo | Courtesy
Truffles are made at Green Mountain Chocolate's facility in Hopedale.
Photo | Courtesy
Truffles for sale at Green Mountain Chocolate in Hopedale.

It's the busiest time of the year for Hopedale-based Green Mountain Chocolate. The manufacturing facility has been a bustling hub of chocolatey goodness since the end of summer and the busiest holiday for the company's two retail stores is right around the corner. President Bill Campbell spoke to WBJ about the company's favorite time of the year.

Is this a busy time of the year for Green Mountain Chocolate?

Oh yeah. We start really getting busy in July when a lot of our big wholesale customers want holiday products starting in August. Our retail stores get busy as soon as the weather starts to cool down a bit.

Then of course you have the holiday period from November to December. That's just enormous. Then you wait all January for Valentine's Day, but we actually had a record January this year. We've had record sales every month for the last three years.

What's the busiest holiday: Halloween, Christmas, Valentine's Day or Easter?

The biggest holiday, period, is Christmas and Hanukkah. It's really busy from Thanksgiving through Christmas. There are more gifts involved, corporate sales and companies rewarding customers and employees.

The largest single-day sales are before Valentine's Day and the day of. It's really an intense week of sales. It's a very personal holiday so a lot of items are handpicked. It's absolutely crazy.

Easter is busy for a few weeks, and that continues through to Mother's Day. Once we get to June, there's a little bit of downtime to maintain our equipment.

What's special this Valentine's Day?

We're doing hand-dipped strawberries. Those are always a huge hit. It's not new, but it's something a lot of people don't like to do because of the short shelf life of strawberries; but we get them fresh that day and dip them in the morning. But a lot of companies don't like doing it.

We're now doing dark chocolate, and that's become a huge it.

How has the company grown in recent years?

In this business, the best advertising is word of mouth. This past season we did a little advertising on the radio. Some other chocolate companies have gone under lately, so more people are now coming to us.

We're doing more and more corporate work and a lot of baskets over the holiday period. That's a good way of getting four or five new customers if 20 people open a basket and they each get something out of it. We get multiple phone calls after baskets go out.

We have had a very strong growth every year of 5-7 percent. The retail side has been very good for us. It was over 13 percent last year.

Our wholesale business is really busy before the holidays, and as the holiday approaches, that business starts to slow down but the retail stores begin to pick up. It's really a good mix of business for us.

The company recently posted on Facebook about a Golden Ticket contest.

We've done it a few times. We did it in January with our chocolate-covered potato chips, and we increased sales 40 percent, which was really awesome for a month like January.

It generated a lot of talk and fun with our customers.

How often do you call yourself Willy?

Other people will attach me to that, but I'm just the guy here that will push the broom and clean the restrooms like everyone else. We don't have Oompa Loompas. We have hard-working people who have been here for years.

This interview was conducted and edited for length and clarity by WBJ Staff Writer Zachary Comeau.

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