BY JODY ANDERSON
Reid Chocolates is and has been preparing for the Christmas season for quite some time. It is their longest and most busy time, rivalled only by the brief rush of Valentine’s Day and Easter.
The store offers plenty of chocolate choices as well as candy and other treats.
Brenda Kemp, general manager at Reid’s, said chocolate letters are one of the store’s biggest sellers.
“Letters are a very big tradition at Reid’s for stocking stuffers. It’s really hard to keep up with the letters. It doesn’t seem to matter how many we make we always need more.”
M is the most popular letter, but they all sell, especially during this time of year. Another big seller is the assorted box of chocolates, a safe bet for any given person. Various chocolates are included, but you are sure to see creams (chocolates with a cream filling of some sort).
“When we’re doing an assorted box we try and appeal to a wider range,” Kemp said.
Reid’s can produce 150 pounds of creams at a time, seven or eight times a day.
“The caramels don’t yield as much out of a batch,” she said.
“So the creams definitely make us more money, they are a little more time efficient, a little bit cheaper to make and they taste good too. It just depends on your personal preference.”
“To me, we do sell a lot of chocolate but we also sell a lot of nuts and that kind of sets us apart from other chocolate shops. We do roast our own nuts on the premises.”
Nuts are used in many of Reid’s products; the most commonly used is the pecan.
“We use them in our tortoise, and that’s our signature piece,” Kemp said. “We do more tortoises than we do assorted chocolates.”
“Last year we did 4,350 kg of tortoises in the year. That’s the most of anything we do.”
Kemp also said they are trying for a 10 per cent increase on that for 2013.
They have been packaging a lot of products but now with a new order of pecans in they can begin making more of their signature product and in general begin making more products for this busy holiday season.
“We’ve been doing a lot of packing. So now the onus is on getting a lot more product made. Now that we have the nuts we can do more tortoises. We’ve just done an order for 401 lbs.”
In addition to in-store customers, Reid’s sells a lot through orders whether they be from businesses, hospitals or families.
“This time of year there are different companies that use our products for fundraisers,” Kemp said.
“(We do orders) all over southwestern Ontario. Any corporation that is looking for gifts for their employees or for their customers or for their referrals, we can customize to their needs.”
“Dependent on what your budget is you can get something that is $2 or $150 or $300, it doesn’t matter, we can do anything.
“We also do baskets, so there’s all sorts of different options for people and for every budget.”
As the holidays approach Kemp has a theory on why they have so many repeat customers.
“It’s a great place to work because you are selling to people for happy occasions, especially for Christmas. People are coming in, they’re in a good mood, they’re enjoying the whole experience of the store and everything it has to offer and that is why people keep coming back.”