The corner of Hertel and Parker is soon to be home to a chocolate shop with a built in custom edge. After speaking with Ingeri Eaton, owner of Eaton Chocolate, it was clear that the fledgling enterprise was setting out to tantalize the tastebuds of ‘sweet-tooths’ from around the city. I was curious as to how Ingeri got her start in the world of chocolate creations, and like so many other industrious Buffalonians, it started off with a whole lot of passion and persistence. Unlike a lot of entrepreneurs, in order to get the business rolling, Ingeri will be keeping her factory job during the day while her husband tends the shop. Then, when Ingeri comes in to work the shop later in the day, her husband will set off to work at the same factory. Talk about deep a commitment to keep the entrepreneurial dream alive!
The ultimate hope is to get enough business at the chocolate shop so that one day Ingeri can leave the factory and follow her passion fulltime. “That’s kinda how it started,” she told me. “I started making fresh chocolate for my friends and family. One day, during the holidays, I brought some chocolate into the factory. The workers loved it and began to ask me to make custom orders. By the following holiday season I was even busier taking down custom orders and delivering chocolates to people. I think that the reason that people like my chocolate is a couple of reasons. I make the chocolate and it never sits on a shelf for long. Also, people always ask me to come up with custom creations and I do it. There was a guy at work who wanted white sponge candy and I made it for him. Somebody else wanted white chocolate raisin clusters, while another person wanted orange chocolate peanut clusters. If you want a turtle made with cashews instead of pecans I’ll do it. If someone calls the shop and wants a custom order, I’ll have it ready for them by the next day, even if I have to stay at the shop until 3am to have it ready.”
Ingeri is planning on growing the retail business while concentrating on providing chocolates for events such as birthday parties and weddings. “I think that when people realize what fresh chocolate tastes like they will come back on a regular basis,” she said. “I walked into a new chocolate store on Sheridan the other day that was advertised as having the freshest chocolate around… made right there. After pointing to three different packages I was told each time that the selection that I had inquired about had been shipped in. How is that fresh? When it comes to chocolate, the customer should know that the selections have not been sitting around on a shelf or anywhere else. When we do open in a few weeks, we’re planning on hosting a celebration, and after that I would like to work with some of the local businesses to do chocolate pairings.”
It sounds like Ingeri is on the right path when it comes to following her passions. I find it interesting that both she and her husband will sontinue to work their factory jobs in order to ensure the success of the business. Just thinking about the amount of work that they will be putting in together to build a dream is making me tired… and hungry for chocolate. I’m going to have to stop in as soon as they open for some fresh chocolate to reenergize!
1856 Hertel Avenue
Buffalo NY 14216