Michelle Smith, owner of Chocolate Dreams, widely regarded as Jamaica’s premier chocolatier, has decided to sweeten up the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE).
At the Jamaica Observer’s Food Award’s pre-event dinner at the Spanish Court Hotel in New Kingston last night, Smith announced that she has restructured her board of directors and is developing a succession plan with the aim to list her company in the next 18 months.
“It’s a lot of hard work getting ready for investors, and we are committed to get it done. The JSE is how we are going to preserve the legacy of Chocolate Dreams for not only my family, but my beloved country.”
Smith’s story can be seen as one of easy success, but really it is one of determination and reinvention. The business model first started as a provider of chocolate as part of Jamaica’s first erotic store, Nice and Naughty. Chocolate Dreams then focused on retail with three locations. Then the company developed relationships with the seven largest hotel chains in the Caribbean to supply turn down chocolates that the staff place on freshly made beds as guests check in. Additionally, there is the relationship with the Appleton Rum Tour to supply specialty rum-flavoured chocolates.
And now, Chocolate Dreams is shopping for a 3000-square foot building to turn into a Willy Wonka style chocolate factory and tourist destination. Quite where though, is anyone’s guess — though it “will be Kingston for sure”, Smith told the Jamaica Observer.
“I’ve been looking and looking and looking,” Smith told the Jamaica Observer. “I have someone looking very feverishly right now.” There was an idea to create the destination in Grants Pen, Kingston, but another thought is downtown Kingston, in anticipation of cruise ships stopping there.
Published in the Jamaica Observer
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