BOZEMAN- The chocolate industry is a multibillion-dollar industry-- and this week is one of the biggest weeks of the year for chocolatiers.
That's rights its almost Valentine's Day.
Shannon H. Grochowski and JP Wlady Grochowsk the owners of La Châtelaine Chocolat Co. in Bozeman are a husband and wife chocolatier team and they say that the boom has let them live out their American dream.
Shannon H. Grochowski says after graduating from Montana State University her dream was to be a TV journalist, she started her career at KULR-8 television in Billings, but eventually chocolate called her name.
JP Wlady Grochowsk is from Paris, France originally but says he spent a large portion of his childhood in America and that Montana spoke to him.
The husband-and-wife team both had different dessert businesses before going into business with each other.
“We started basically without the store just word-of-mouth,” JP Wlady Grochowsk said, “We rented a kitchen and within six months we need to find a space for retail and a proper kitchen.”
But it wasn’t smooth sailing right out of the gate.
“We could’ve easily lost our business from the get-go,” Shannon H. Grochowski said, “the recession hit the year after we opened our brick and mortar shop.”
But they both say the growth in Bozeman helped them keep the doors open and the chocolate flowing.
“It has the fastest-growing airport, there’s a lot of things going on in Bozeman and MSU is booming,” JP Wlady Grochowsk said, “So I just think Bozeman is where is the place where our business was meant to work.”
In 2018 Americans spent $20 billion on chocolate and sweet treats. But for Valentine’s Day Americans spent $18 billion on sweet treats. That means $152 was spent by each American on chocolate.
“One way for people to travel is vicariously through our chocolate,” Shannon H. Grochowski said.
It’s estimated that every American eats around 11 pounds of chocolate a year and Bozeman has a sweet tooth with six specialty chocolate shops within the city limits.
But the Grochowsks attribute their success to constantly having a new customer base.
“Because people continue to move here at such a rapid pace the valley will continue to regenerate and so every year you have to keep marketing and advertising because you have that many new people here,” Shannon H. Grochowski said.
But for this husband and wife chocolatier team, they feel their successes can be attributed back to Bozeman.
“Bozeman was the right place for raising a family and having a small business like this,” H. Grochowski said.
If you have a unique business story that Bradley needs to look into you can email him by following this link.