GROW: Q&A with Oregon Craft Chocolatiers

Bend, Ore. – November 18, 2018 – Ron Smith decided to bring a fresh perspective to chocolate making with the new Oregon Craft Chocolatiers in Bend, Oregon. Since taking ownership, Ron’s primary goal for the store has been to change the customer experience by updating the look, feel and re-charting the direction of their chocolate products. They have implemented improvements to recipes by deleting artificial flavors and colors, replacing them with all natural and essential oil flavorings wherever possible. They are creating new flavor combinations to tempt palates far and wide while expanding their product offerings to include Artisan Barks, essential oil infused disks, Tipsy Truffles and more. EDCO recently sat down with Ron to take a bite out of this new Bend business.

EDCO: Tell us about your business background.
RS: For nearly my entire career I have worked for family or personal businesses ranging from real estate development, technology to healthcare. Yet, I have had a long desire to try to build a product-based business and establish a respected brand within a community.

EDCO: What inspired you to invest in this business?
RS: I viewed it as an opportunity to build the product-based business that I have longed to build. The fact it’s based on chocolate is a huge bonus. I became intrigued by the nutritional aspects of cacao some time ago while completing my first degree in biochemistry. Ever since, I have been a bit of a choco-nerd. Today, the chocolate industry is going through an interesting transformation providing new opportunities for small companies like ours to make single-origin craft cacao chocolate bars. By sourcing unique beans from all over the world, we are able to optimize and celebrate the diversity of cacao, much like coffee, and share that experience with our community.

Ronald Smith at a farm

Owner Ronald Smith

EDCO: Why do you wish to continue to grow your business in Central Oregon?
RS: Central Oregon provides a unique, high-quality of life for those fortunate to call it home. It also maintains a dynamic and vibrant entrepreneurial community.

EDCO: What projects are you currently working on?
RS: As part of our ongoing store remodel, we acquired and implemented new tempering, enrobing, molding machines and craft chocolate making equipment. We are now ready to begin a sales, marketing and awareness campaign. Over the past year, we have worked hard quietly transforming the business with new equipment, modernizing and improving nearly every aspect. Now it’s finally time for us to invite the community in and experience who we are and what we are doing.

EDCO: What’s different about the Central Oregon business community than other communities?
RS: What I feel is unique about the business community here is the diversity in backgrounds, the creativity and collegial spirit among its members.

EDCO: How has this community helped you thrive?
RS: We truly are just getting started as the new chocolate company we are today. In general, I would say the passion of this community for those who make and create locally is inspiring.

EDCO: Tell us more about your chocolates and where we can get them?
RS: We are making responsibly sourced single origin cacao chocolate bars including vegan options. Currently, our chocolate is found in our nearly 3000 sq/ft factory store located in the Wagner Mall and in Sisters at Spoons and Ear Expressions.

For more information on how EDCO can help you grow your business in Central Oregon, click here or call (541) 388-3236.

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