If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to be Willy Wonka, an opportunity has just presented itself. A chocolate factory/shop located in the heart of Buffalo is closing. After 27 years in the business, owner/operator Dan Johnson is retiring. The upside of this is that Dan has created a successful business that caters to various end markets, including corporate gifts, retailers, and celebrities. The name of the business Choco-Logo Confectionery Design, sums up it up perfectly. Customers would order the various super-premium chocolates, which would be produced at 141 Broadway. But what makes Choco-Logo so different is not simply the quality of the chocolate and the proprietary formulas, it’s the branding molds and private-labeling that goes along with it. Now, the entire package deal is on the market, and hopefully some entrepreneurial spirit (with a big sweet tooth) will sweep in and take over this incredibly unique Buffalo born and bred business.
“It’s time,” says Johnson, a trained executive chef who began making chocolate back when he was cheffing at Burlington, Vermont’s famous Ice House restaurant. “I want to spend more time with my ailing parents.”
Over the years, Choco-Logo has been frequented by clients such as Bloomingdale’s and Nordstrom At Home stores. Longterm customers hail from all over the world. Dan attributes much of his success to the quality of the products that he manufactures, which are made with fresh butter and dairy products, with natural flavors.
In order to grow the operation, Dan bought the circa 1896 building (141 Broadway) in 2004, which he lovingly restored. He built the factory in the back, and added an exquisite retail shop up front. “I hadn’t planned on opening a shop at all,” says Dan, “but the space really lent itself to it. This was my gift to Buffalo, at a time when most retailers had already left downtown and no one was ready to give it another chance.”
The charming shop is outfitted with antique candy counters and cabinets, a tin ceiling (“there are thousands of nails up there,” he laughs), and the original entrance doors were refinished by Dan’s father and reinstalled to open into the factory at the rear of the shop.
Over the years, Dan and his crew have given countless tours to people from all over WNY and all over the world. He even hosted a series of after hour chocolate and wine tasting pairings, with a focus on raising money for non-profits such as HELP USA and God’s Love We Deliver, both based in New York City, and locally for the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library, Roswell Park Alliance, the Hospice Buffalo, and the Hawk Creek Wildlife Center in East Aurora.
In order to prepare for his retirement, Dan sold the building in 2016. Currently, he is leasing the shop and factory space. The business opportunity at hand is to take over the Choco-Logo business, which is for sale. Interested parties are invited to stop by the shop at 141 Broadway, between 10am and 6pm.
Choco-Logo will be open this week with a full array of Easter chocolates and will close the shop by the end of April.