By Colson Thayer, Editorial Intern | West Des Moines Chamber of Commerce
Downsizing and lay offs are among the greatest fears in corporate America. Steve and Meg Shearer both felt that threat in 2001. They took a risk, one involving a chocolate shop.
In 2001, the Shearers bought the Chocolate Storybook in West Des Moines. Neither of them had any chocolate, food or business owning experience. The couple’s daughter, Sabrina, described it as ‘going in blind.’ After buying the business, the couple spent a year in training with the previous owners.
A lot has changed about Chocolate Storybook since 2001. To help modernize the business, the Shearers
began shipping across the entire United States, Additionally, the business also has their own website along with Amazon and Etsy storefronts. But what hasn’t changed about the business is the product line. “The core popular products are what bring people here,” said Meg. The business specializes in delicious handmade confections: turtles, chocolates, toffee, truffles, and many more. The business today caters to the more businesses type clientele. Oftentimes, business professionals will send Chocolate Storybook’s products to their partners or employees all over the country. However, families are still welcome to come in anytime to pick up their favorite chocolate covered malt balls.
The holidays are the most popular time for Chocolate Storybook. October through Easter is the busiest time for the company. Chocolate Storybook offers an assortment of holiday themed gifts and products. Some of the most popular are chocolate caramel apples in the fall and chocolate covered strawberries for Valentine’s Day.
Most recently, the Shearers are devoting a lot of their time to their cotton candy business. The factory that employs 30 people year round produces about 40,000 tubs of cotton candy a week.
When Chocolate Storybook first opened, it was located inside of two small buildings on Grand Ave. In 2010,
the Shearers combined the two buildings. “Just two little 1940s bungalows that we connected together,” explained Meg. About five years ago, the business took over the former upholstery business next door and combined that one to the building. The company needs all the room to make most of their candies in the most traditional sense and on site.
Click here to learn more about Chocolate Storybook.
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