Amore Chocolate invited to festival
Annette Cook already was busy. Her business, Amore Chocolate Pizza Company, was doing brisk business preparing for fall shipments and a partnership with a company doing wine tastings.
But when organizers for the 13th Annual Ghirardelli Square Chocolate Festival in San Francisco came calling, she couldn't turn down the opportunity to increase the reach of her business.
The combination of a heavy workload and the fact that she doesn't want to fly means Annette will not attend the festival this weekend, but her husband Chris and son Will are going.
The festival serves as a benefit for Project Open Hand, a nonprofit organization that provides food and nourishment to children and adults with symptomatic HIV and AIDS.
Amore will be one of 29 vendors in attendance.
"This fundraiser was really close to my heart so I felt like it was necessary (for us to go), and we had the frequent flyer mileage to get there," Annette said.
Amore originally was conceived as a way for Annette to work while still being able to keep summers open to be with her four children.
"It will be profitable, so I'm excited for this year and next year," Annette said. "People said we wouldn't last in Eudora, but we don't just serve Eudora.
Amore now is in 200 stores throughout the U.S. and is looking into buying and restoring a building for workspace because they have grown out of the space they're renting at 114 W. 20th St. in Eudora.
It has gotten to the point that Annette doesn't even have time to develop new flavors of chocolate pizzas or chocolate dipped pretzel rods.
"Somebody asked, 'what is your new flavor this year' and I said 'I'm not doing anything new,'" Annette said. "I have to remember that if I change a flavor or shape, then I have to change a box and a brochure and it's just too much time and money."
While Chris and Will are gone this weekend, Annette said she hoped to have time to clean house, do some laundry, and maybe even rehearse for a play in which she'll perform.
That is, once she is finished with the stack of orders that will need to be filled after she has packaged the 5,000 samples that will be shipped to San Francisco for the chocolate festival.
"There is nothing negative about it; it's a great problem to have," she said. "I love working for myself and I love working here. To know that this is mine, even if I'm not making millions of dollars right now, someday I will. And when I do, then we hope to give back to people who want to start something like this."