When baruch Schaked was pondering retirement after more than 25 years in the handmade chocolate business, his son Edgar wanted to talk him out of it.
"I thought, 'That's a trade you don't throw out, because chocolate is an art form,' " Edgar explains. "So I asked my father if he wouldn't mind teaching me the chocolate business and getting into business together."
But there was a catch-if they were going into business together, it wouldn't be one store, but a chain of stores.
So, once Baruch had sold his share of his Miami chocolate store to his former partner and signed a non-compete agreement, Edgar set out to start their new business.
"I moved to Orlando to open a store, not knowing anyone, and in two weeks I had rented a store and made a lease. I came [home], my father taught me everything, and I moved back up here. So I started completely from scratch," Edgar says. "I knew if I could start a business on my own, at the age of 24, in a city I didn't know and make it work, I could replicate the same thing anywhere."
While franchising is still in the works, the Schakolad Chocolate Factory, with stores now in Orlando, Florida; the Bahamas; and Israel got more than $500,000 in 2000 sales and has grown about 30 percent each year since its start six years ago.
Edgar's chocolate has gratified corporate clients, including Disney, as well as passersby lured by the sight of Schakolad employees handmaking chocolates, from bite-sized pieces to specialty items in such shapes as houses, basketballs and swans.
Edgar, now 30, is also spreading the word about the "wonders of chocolate," one of which is phenol, the same heart-healthy chemical found in red wine. But he's quick to point out that not all chocolate is created equal: "You can get chocolate with a lot of hydrogenated fat that is absolutely, incredibly bad for you." It turns out, like Edgar's business, the healthiest chocolate is made from scratch, too.
- Schakolad Chocolate Factory, 480 N. Orlando Ave., #131, Winter Park, FL 32789, www.schakolad.com