Vol. 92, No. 11 MANUFACTURING CONFECTIONER global source for chocolate, confectionery and biscuit information
Vol. 92, No. 11 MANUFACTURING CONFECTIONER global source for chocolate, confectionery and biscuit information
Vol. 92, No. 11 MANUFACTURING CONFECTIONER global source for chocolate, confectionery and biscuit information
Vol. 92, No. 11 MANUFACTURING CONFECTIONER global source for chocolate, confectionery and biscuit information
Vol. 92, No. 11 MANUFACTURING CONFECTIONER global source for chocolate, confectionery and biscuit information

Vol. 92, No. 11 MANUFACTURING CONFECTIONER global source for chocolate, confectionery and biscuit information

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    NOVEMBER 2012 Vol. 92, No. 11



  • The Manufacturing Confectioner • November 2012 33

    Retail Confectioners International Fall Regional

    RCI Canadian Chocolate Tour Touring Ontario shops

    Retail Confectioners Internationalfall regional took place in Toronto, Cambridge, Burlington and Stratford, Ontario, Canada. The program included educational presentations and tours of five confectionery companies showing a range of confectionery options in the region. Networking that occurs during RCI

    events is a strong benefit from mem- bership in that association. As mem- bers and friends of RCI gathered in Toronto for three days, sharing was prevalent. Conversations shifted from “how was your summer?” to “do you freeze some of your chocolates in prepa- ration for the holiday rush?” and “tell me about your new depositor.”


    Peter Higgins, R.C. Purdy’s Choco- lates president and COO, presented a brief overview of the Chocolate Con- noisseur training program. He first noted that RCI has had a positive impact throughout the history of Purdy’s; the company is pleased to give back to RCI. Realizing that there are many “food-

    ies” who have an opinion about their food, want to learn more and have an interest in experimenting with food, Purdy’s developed a plan to prepare retail staff to share knowledge and delight customers. The Chocolate Con- noisseur training program takes people

    who have passion, energy and excite- ment and helps them become “fantas- tic people offering fantastic chocolates for a fantastic experience.”

    At Purdy’s nearby retail store, Higgins led the RCI members in a sensory pres- entation, reminding them that part of the company’s Connoisseur training means that a team member can describe an item to a potential customer in terms the customer will understand and in a way that will entice. In late 2011 Higgins traveled to

    Ghana with Karen Flavelle, Purdy’s CEO, as part of Purdy’s ongoing part- nership with the World Cocoa Foun- dation. From that trip, Purdy’s pro- duced a video so employees and customers can see some of the connec- tion between the chocolate sold by Purdy’s and the people in that cocoa- growing area. Farmer education and grants for single mothers starting busi- nesses are two examples of Purdy’s Chocolates making a difference.

    At Purdy’s stores they display posters with a QR code (for customers with smart phones) to link to videos about Purdy’s involvement with cocoa-grow- ing communities. As Purdy’s leaders impart knowledge

    and passion, staff can enhance the cus- tomer’s experience of quality chocolates.


    The Purdy’s store that RCI toured in Ontario is in the Oakville Place Mall. This 1,000 sq ft retail store’s most popu- lar items are Hedgehogs, English toffee and Sweet Georgia Browns.

    A new item for Purdy’s is the Turona. Named after a 16th century Spanish confection, Turona uses cocoa har- vested from a single Peruvian planta- tion, which previously grew bananas. The cocoa retains a flavor of the fruit. The first layer of Turona is gianduja — a puree of almond, hazelnut and milk chocolate, plus French pastry flakes.

    Purdy’s Oakville Place Mall shop decorated for Canadian Thanksgiving Day

    Peter Higgins (left) facilitating a tasting ses- sion with RCI at the Oakville Place Mall

  • 34 November 2012 • The Manufacturing Confectioner

    RCI Canadian Chocolate Tour

    The second layer is a dark chocolate truffle. The piece is then enrobed in dark chocolate. Sampling, Higgins said, gives a free

    taste that puts a smile on the cus- tomer’s face.


    Tom Drew-Smith, one of the leaders at Reid Candy & Nut Shop (and former president of RCI), welcomed the bus- load of RCI members. The company has operated in Cambridge, Ontario, for more than 60 years.

    After purchasing the business in 1971, Tom and Kathy Drew-Smith expanded the assorted chocolate selections, adding peanut brittle, fudge and Turk- ish delight. Business increased and more space was required. In 1981, the store and manufacturing equipment were moved. They now occupy 10,000 sq ft of production area, 2,500 sq ft of retail space plus addi- tional warehouse space.

    Tom Drew-Smith underscored the importance of succession planning. He recently experienced the transfer of his business to the next generation, and said, “family succession planning is near and dear to our hearts.” His son, Ted, and daughter, Carrie, are now doing what Tom and his wife, Kathy, had done since they bought the business. The process of “giving up control” —

    succession planning — “doesn’t happen overnight, and it takes time, sweat and tears,” Tom Drew-Smith said. He highly recommended that RCI continue to offer education programs on family suc- cession planning.


    One popular way to indulge in a variety of flavors in favorite beverages and chocolates is “pairings” or tasting par- ties. During this RCI fall regional the attendees could participate in either a Scotch-and-chocolate tasting or a tea- and-chocolate tasting during an after- noon in Stratford, Ontario. These tast- ing events were facilitated by experts and offered several choices of the beverages and the chocolates. Rhéo Thompson Candies uses these pairing events locally to interact with the community in a fun and educational way.


    Rhéo Thompson Candies is owned by Marc Johnstone and Kristene Steed, who were also the chairs for this RCI event. Johnstone and Steed are a type of second-generation owners; founders Rhéo and Sally Thompson wanted to retire and had no heirs that could take on the business, so they selected this young couple to train and continue the legacy after its purchase. The company started in its namesake’s

    basement in Stratford, Ontario, more than 60 years ago. Eventually Thomp- son produced chocolates in storage space shared with a local drugstore, then moved, expanded and moved again. Current owners Johnstone and Steed now oversee 12,000 sq ft of production space and approximately 1,600 sq ft of retail area. In addition, the company is in the

    process of converting a former parking garage beneath its main floor to stor- age space.

    Orderly, clean and efficient, the pro- duction area was occupied with the com- pany’s signature mint smoothies during the RCI tour. The company produces more than 150 items, including peanut butter creams, raspberry smoothies, fruit jellies and hard candies.

    Boxes of candy and gifts are attrac- tively displayed throughout the store, many of which are wrapped in color-

    One of the tables at Reid Candy & Nut Shop displaying bright colors, animal-print ribbons and unique tie-on gifts

    Host, event co-chair and owner of Rhéo Thomp- son Candies Kristene Steed photographs tea sommelier Karen Hartwick and RCI member Laurie Winans-Reiser of Winans Chocolates and Coffee to remember the experience

    Tidy with every tool in its place, the Rhéo Thompson Candies kitchen also featured five different cooling tables

    Succession Planning

    Each of the 2012 issues of RCI’s newslet- ter, Kettle Talk, includes an article on business succession planning. Members of the association can also access recent educational program materials, includ- ing a spring 2012 presentation on suc- cession plans via the association’s website.

  • The Manufacturing Confectioner • November 2012 35

    RCI Fall Regional Institute

    ful paper, satin, lace and ribbon. Steed says the staff must prepare the package to be fit for a queen — even if your “queen” is just your grandmother. Large spaces dedicated to gift preparation in the production area demonstrate that visual appeal is as important as the taste.


    On the other end of the spectrum is a

    young bean-to-bar company in Toronto. Opened in 2004, Soma Choco- latemaker considers itself “a place to eat, drink and worship chocolate.” Their retail shop in the city’s unique Distillery District offers chocolate in many forms — truffles, barks, cookies and as a liquid. RCI members were given samples of Mayan drinking chocolate. Gelato is also one of Soma’s specialties, so treats of many types were available as RCI members watched the chocolate grinding and confectionery production visible through large glass walls in the retail space.

    Owners David Castellan and Cyn- thia Leung also shared their “secret” location where they have amassed a col- lection of vintage, sometimes repur- posed equipment for small-batch pro-

    cessing of cocoa beans into chocolate. A roaster, winnower and bean-sort-

    ing device were all purchased used, in various stages of readiness for Soma’s purpose as a small-batch choco- latemaker.

    Cocoa beans from Madagascar, Java

    Presentation ideas were plentiful at Rhéo Thompson Candies’ store

    Consumers can view the chocolate-grinding process through the glass walls at Soma Chocolatemaker


    WC SMITH ENROBING LINE Updated to today’s PLC Touch-Screen control technology and current manufacturing methods, Savage re-introduces the 16”/400mm and 24”/600mm chocolate coating lines. The lines are uniquely designed with ‘plug-n-play’ modules for easy and flexible future expansion. Modul