Couple Dip Into Chocolate Franchise

ORLANDO, FL | Wednesday, October 19, 2005

The sweet smell of success wafts through the Schakolad Chocolate Factory. This week, Daniel W. and Ruth Ann Hersey are opening the first Indiana location of the Florida-based Schakolad Chocolate Factory.

The Zionsville couple is in search of the Hoosier sweet tooth, armed with European style chocolates made in their shop located on Indianapolis` Northwestside in the Traders Point Center.

Their last name is not to be confused with the well-known brand of chocolate that Dan Hersey says uses wax in their products. None of that in the pure, sweet, mysterious confection from Schakolad.

Each truffle, each ganache, each milk-chocolate-covered caramel and dark-chocolate-coated pear or cherry is handmade, dipped and fashioned one at a time in their shop.

And the Schakolad shop shows that the confections made from cocoa beans can be fun, novel, edible art.

Need a near life-size chocolate football for a Super Bowl party? Or a delicate swan from white chocolate for a wedding reception? They’ve got both at Schakolad.

Maybe a salesman trying to impress prospective customers needs a 1-pound milk chocolate in the shape of a footprint with a corny inscription like “Just Trying to Get a Foot in the Door.” They’ve got that, too.

There’s also a one-half pound chocolate bar shaped like a key that could make a tasty trophy if inscribed with a phrase like “In honor of a key player” or “You’re the key to our success.” “We’ve got about 300 plastic molds on hand, but we could get several thousand more to make practically anything you’d want,” Dan Hersey said.

The shop has several techniques to personalize or customize practically anything made from chocolate.

Besides molds, some items can be carved or shaved. Others can just be inscribed with writing in edible ink. And some picturelike designs can be reproduced on edible rice paper.

At other Schakolad stores, Hersey said the 2-ounce chocolate reproduction of a business card is popular.

While walk-in traffic may become the heart of the new business, the Herseys are looking for companies, not-for-profits and other organizations that want their names and logos in candy. A golf course might want its logo on a package of white chocolate golf balls. Perhaps a wedding caterer could use a chocolate champagne bottle.

And then there’s the fountain a five-layer flowing, chocolate tower that holds enough to serve about 150 people.

The thought of almond bark, chocolate-covered cherries and ganache centers of cheesecake, raspberry and Jamaican Rum were enough to convince the Herseys that Schakolad was the franchise for them.

The story goes back a few years.

The couple, married 17 years and the parents of two children, met at Howe (Ind.) Military Academy. Dan was a cadet and Ruth Ann was a professor’s daughter.

Over the past nine years or so, Dan has been trading stocks. Ruth Ann was a real estate appraiser nearly 20 years for Irwin Mortgage Corp. until earlier this year when the financial company began some extensive layoffs. She still works part-time as an independent appraiser.

The stock market has grown a bit flat for traders like Dan. And, Ruth Ann needed a change, so they began looking into buying a franchise.

“Over about eight months, I looked at thousands of possible franchises and we finally came to Schakolad,” Dan Hersey said.

“We liked this concept for many reasons. And we know that most people coming in the door already like chocolate. We’re selling something that makes them happy,” he said.

Schakolad is a play on the family name of Baruch Schaked, the company founder and a chocolatier who trainer in Argentina and Europe. He moved to Florida and opened his first location in 1995.

Schaked was in Indianapolis last month to complete the “chocolate boot camp” training for the Herseys to open their store, which becomes the 28th Schakolad location in the U.S.

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Schakolad Chocolate Factory
5966 Lake Hurst Dr.
Orlando, FL

Phone: (407)248-6400
Fax: (407)248-1466

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