Totally Chocolate to more than double in size
Jeff Robinson brought Totally Chocolate to Blaine in 1993 from Los Angeles, moving his five-year-old business to a new 15,000 square foot factory he built on Pipeline Road that he later nearly doubled in size as business grew.
“I was living in Vancouver at the time and was looking for someplace to move the plant to that was closer than where we started in LA. I looked around Blaine and met Don Nelson, who showed me the town and the airport, and I stopped looking,” said Robinson, an active business pilot and avid recreational boater.
Business is still growing. His work force has more than quadrupled to 120 since he came to town and his factory is operating two shifts a day right now. Robinson said that he does 60 per cent of his business in the fourth quarter because so much of what he makes goes into seasonal gifts. This year he’ll ship a record million pounds of Belgian chocolate, a company record. “We’re having to rent space because we’re just plain out of room here,” he said, “so it’s clearly time to move on. Either that or put the brakes on future sales growth.”
Though it looks simple, Robinson’s product is unique in ways he’s reluctant to discuss, but sales speak for themselves. Another factor driving his decision to expand his physical plant is what he called “an excellent, experienced core management team.” Two people came north from California with him in 1993 and one, Matt Roth, Robinson’s vice-president of marketing, is still on staff.
Early this next year he’ll move into a new 60,000 square foot building, well over twice as big as his present quarters. Groundbreaking will happen shortly before the end of the year at the site on the south side of Sweet Road just west of Nature’s Path Cereal. The building will devote 7,000 square feet to administrative space, 15,000 square feet to production and over 60 percent, 38,000 square feet, to warehouse space.