Eight years ago, I quit my job in Sales in order to follow my passion. Since then my life has been a roller coaster of good times and challenging seasons, but on the whole, my favorite experience was when a random customer came up to me in a local grocery store to say “You make the world a better place”.
I’ve enjoyed making desserts for years. Bringing the best dessert to a pot luck and having folks say “You weren’t supposed to buy it, you were supposed to make it yourself” and then watching it disappear first was a huge turn-on to me. After attending two different culinary schools to learn the craft of Baking: breads, pastries, wedding cakes, and of course chocolates, I spent several years working in bakeries and restaurants in the Seattle area.
The name “Carter’s Chocolates” is an homage to Grandpa Carter, who ran Carter’s Farm Supply for decades, and whose work ethic is reincarnated in the new entrepreneurial generation.
After a few financially successful but personally unfulfilling years in Sales, I decided to go back to doing something more rewarding, and started Carter’s Chocolates.
The intent was to offer exquisite artisan truffles and confections, using high quality single origin, slavery-free chocolates in green packaging. I’ve been causing truffle in Port Orchard since 2008, and adding more items ever since. Caramels came early, followed during the first summer with Ice cream, then baked items including cookies, cakes, tarts and the occasional wedding cake; and now there is espresso as well.
I’ve had a store front the whole time, but in the first couple of years festivals and farmer’s markets were the most important retail outlet and they continue to be both enjoyable and a good source of revenues on a sunny weekend.
Carter’s has won a few awards ~ Best Desserts in South Kitsap for the last 4 years, and placed in the top 5 of the Best of Western Washington a few times. Good media exposure, the location near the marina and ferry docks in downtown Port Orchard, and the festival circuit have broadened Carters’ customer base to the surrounding area. It is not rare for folks from Gig Harbor or Tacoma to make a special trip down to Bay Street on their way north. The time may be ripe for a new Carter’s location in one of those markets!
The financial fallout from a stupid mistake has been going on for over 5 years. A Big Bank’s policy of raising interest rates from 9% to 29% due to two late payments in 6 months (sidestepping the Credit Card Act of 2009 through a technicality) almost put Carter’s into bankruptcy and has been a drain on our resources ever since. With this loan we will be able to stop the drain of almost $16,000 a year that goes out with nothing to show for it. We’ve also been contemplating another retail location in a larger market for several years, and this debt has been a major roadblock in that plan. Our current set-up has us paying two rents – one for the retail location in the heart of downtown Port Orchard near the ferry and marina; the other a couple of miles away that has temperature control necessary to make chocolates, plus the electrical needs and enough space for all the refrigeration needed to keep up with ice cream and sorbet production all summer ~ but not enough traffic to be a viable retail outlet. Circumstances forced us into that kitchen space two years ago, but we feel that a move into either a smaller, less expensive space just for production, or a better situated space that can bring in adequate revenues is a good long-term strategy. We are currently trying to get our finances into shape that we can take advantage of the next opportunity we find.
Its not a sexy loan request! But it is a sincere need and its fulfillment will help Carter’s to achieve financial stability that will make it easier to take the next steps.
About Carter’s Chocolates
- Restaurant / Caterers
- Years in Operation:
- More than 5 years