Roberta Poirier (center) with her daughters Dina Chavez (left) and Michelle Mendoza (right)
Confucius said, “Do what you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.” How many of us in response to that would love to own our own chocolate store?! Roberta Poirier, the owner of Roberta’s Chocolates in Denver, CO will be the first to admit that there is definitely work involved. However, the creation of good food, great clientele and surrounding herself with the support of family and friends is more than enough to define success. In fact, Roberta’s labor of love comes from living for something greater than herself and the realization that hard work without purpose is simply only that, hard work.
Roberta’s Chocolates boasts a retail location in the popular Denver Highland’s neighborhood but has a following across the country though a developed network of wholesale and website driven business. They carry over 10,000 items which includes an inventory of more than 6,000 molds with new items being requested and custom made for clients every day all to be finished with their customized printing and labeling and ready for any special event.
More important than the variety of flavors and large selection, is the customer. Upon entering the shop you can be assured with a friendly greeting, plenty of attention and acknowledged with genuine gratitude for choosing Roberta’s Chocolates. Even on the busiest of holidays, a customer can be guaranteed a feeling of importance with never a sense of being rushed or treated as a number. Upon your departure, a customer can leave with the feeling of having made a friend. What brings joy to Roberta’s career of choice, besides her family; is the feeling that her interactions always end in a smile.
LGC Associates is profiling Roberta Poirier and Roberta’s Chocolates in honoring her as a food service professional and asks her a few questions.
How long has Roberta’s Chocolates been in business?
We’ve been in business for twelve years. After a quick start in my home kitchen, we quickly came to find the demand exceeded the capacity of my kitchen and opened in our current location.
What inspired you to start your own business?
I've always been very creative, and when I saw a neighbor woman making handmade chocolates, I was impressed with the artistry involved, and thought, "I can do that!" I set out to learn everything I could about this craft, because I saw it as a wonderful way to express myself. The positive feedback and encouragement of my family and friends led me to open my own business.
What advice would you offer to someone new to the industry?
First is to believe in yourself, self doubt will sink you. Second, be sure to have the commitment to do it every day, positively reinforce the people you work with and surround yourself with support. Third, your clients and customers are more important than the products. Develop relationships with all who support you.
How do you keep your business and product ideas fresh for your clients and customers?
Feeling free to try new things as often as possible, not only to practice and express your creativity but to encourage the development of new products, combinations and flavors. Even more important is to have an environment that is supportive to your co-workers and encouraging them to innovate through positive reinforcement.
*Be sure to try the chocolate covered Bacon, Pickles, Jalapenos, Ruffles and Root Beer Fudge!
What significant changes to you see within the industry in the future?
I believe that supporting our marketplace and local workforce in ensuring that everyone can afford and enjoy our services and products without automating our system is most important to me. We take great pride in the fact that everything is made by hand and believe that is important to our customers as well.
What can you not live without in your professional life?
The support of my family has proven to be my greatest asset. Be it my husband, siblings, or children; you will always need their support throughout your journey as an entrepreneur.