Specialist manufacturer Chocolate Magic has located to new premises and acquired new machinery to increase production, thanks to the Growth Mentoring programme run by Boost Business Lancashire.
The West Lancashire business has also entered new markets and is winning regular orders from new customers, including delicatessens, restaurants and other retailers across the North West.
Mawdsley-based Chocolate Magic was founded in 2010 by Susan Anderson after she trained as a chocolatier with renowned industry figure John Slattery, of Slattery’s Chocolatiers in Manchester.
In 2012 Susan’s husband Malcolm joined Chocolate Magic to grow the business by investing in new chocolate tempering machinery and broadening the product range to include a collection of 50 flavours of chocolate bars.
After learning about Boost’s Growth Mentoring Programme, Sue and Malcolm were teamed up with mentor Phil Heaven, regional director for Shopper Anonymous Lancashire.
Sue said: “We needed support to continue growing the business and expand our wholesale activity, as well as improving our understanding of the food and confectionary sector. We also required advice on entering new markets, such as hospitality, along with brand support, both in labeling and online visibility, plus expanding our range of products.”
In addition, Sue and Malcolm had been operating from their home and needed assistance finding suitable business premises.
Phil commented: “Malcolm and Susan displayed real enthusiasm and passion for their product and were keen to expand their operation to become a recognised brand. The quality of their product and its packaging were already established so the focus of our work together was building a cohesive plan to open up new sales channels.
“This involved taking a wide view of the business from its supply of chocolate, through manufacturing, packing, and sales. Malcolm has always been prepared to invest in new premises and machinery. He also realised that more resources would be necessary to build sales, while not moving away from his proven sales outlets.”
Phil added: “At the end of the project, the investment had been made, new customers had placed orders, Malcolm was close to agreeing a new supply channel, and the business was ready to enter a new and exciting phase of its growth.”
Ann Holcroft, operations manager at business support organisation Orvia, which helps deliver the Growth Mentoring programme, added: “Sue and Malcolm have received excellent business support which has helped focus the business on growth and development. I look forward to seeing what the business achieves over the coming months.”
Sue and Malcolm have also benefited from the Skills Assist workshops and have attended the Online Marketing course to gain further knowledge and skills to support the development of the company.
Boost Business Lancashire is the £7.2m Lancashire Business Growth Hub, offering free and part-funded business support to ambitious and growing businesses. Delivered by Lancashire County Council and the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership, and supported by £3.6m from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), it aims to grow Lancashire’s economy by £20m and create at least 1,200 new jobs and safeguard 700 more by 2015.