Competitive Edge: Chocolat Céleste and Just Truffles
While Chocolat CÃ©leste and Just Truffles are both owner-operated, handcrafted-chocolate shops, the former focuses on growth and staying on-trend, the latter on staying true to time-tested recipes and hands-on execution. CÃ©leste is based in St. Paul’s South St. Anthony neighborhood, while Just Truffles is a few miles away on St. Paul’s Grand Avenue.
In addition to truffles, Chocolat CÃ©leste makes bonbons on site in an array of customizable options. Founder and owner Mary Leonard hopes to open a store in San Diego in the next three or four years and plans to pursue corporate clients in the San Diego area in 2013.
Leonard says her chocolates are highest quality and “more giftable. The packaging is very elegant in appearance and sets the tone and the style.” She thinks that this allows her to generate 40 percent of her sales from corporate clients, 25 percent of whom purchase logo bonbons, particularly in December.
Just Truffles sells only a fraction of its product in corporate settings, and the difference in ethos is apparent. Co-founder and -owner Kathleen O’Hehir-Johnson says her customers are more focused on what’s inside—“they’ll take ’em in a bag if they have to.”