When your product is so good you catch the attention of media queen Oprah Winfrey, you know you’re doing something right.
Or when actress Blake Lively dumps out her purse to reveal what’s inside to Allure Magazine and a chocolate bar with your name on it lands on the table, you're probably having a good day. Or maybe landing on Forbes Magazine’s 2016 list of The Best Small Companies in America really seals the deal.
All of the above happened to Shawn Askinosie, founder and CEO of Askinosie Chocolate on historic C-Street in Springfield. The Springfield native and chocolatier has become famous for his chocolate not only in the Queen City, but around the world. And while his chocolate is most definitely unique, so are the principles behind the deliciousness.
“The mission of Askinosie Chocolate is really primarily to make great chocolate and at the same time serve each other, to serve our customers and to serve the farmers we work with around the world,” said Askinosie. “And the idea is to make the world a better place.”
Sometimes while strolling down C-Street, the rich aroma of chocolate fills the air giving a preview of what it’s like to visit Springfield’s famous small batch bean-to-bar chocolate manufacturer. Inside the factory, dark chocolate bars sourced from around the world are on display as well as the machinery that creates the magic. Askinosie Chocolate has been in business for almost 10 years and has been winning awards for their chocolate almost every year they’ve been in business.
“What makes our chocolate some of the best in the world is the way we treat farmers, the way we make our chocolate here and the way we treat each other,” added Askinosie. “I think that’s the difference and I think people can taste that difference, ultimately, when they bring it home or share it with friends.”
One of the pillars of Askinosie Chocolate’s mission is community involvement and Askinosie says Springfield is the perfect place to involve others.
“Springfield is a giving community and I’ve never seen anything like it,” he said. “And the philosophy of giving and serving is one that’s really palpable in this community and one of the main reasons I’m proud to have my business here and proud to be here.”
You can take a tour of the factory on C-Street every Tuesday at 3:30 p.m. Tickets cost $5 for adults and $4 for children and students. All of the proceeds go to Chocolate University — an experiential learning program with a worldwide reach for local students.
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