Chocolate Sales Up During the Pandemic

BY STEVE DINNEN

Des Moines philanthropist Trudy Hurd says she never likes a day or two to pass without nibbling on some chocolate. That’s music to the ears of chocolatiers Ton Stam and Meg Shearer, as they witness a national surge in chocolate sales while people seek out some pleasures during COVID.

Shearer, president of Chocolate Storybook in West Des Moines, said recently that online sales so far in 2020 were already equal to their entire sales of 2019. “We did create specific quarantine gifts, including the Survival Sweets box and the graduate treat box, and sales for both are very strong,” Shearer said. When interviewed, she was in the midst of sending out 500-plus gifts for companies who were thanking their employees for their dedication.

While in-store sales have dropped, Chocolate Storybook is adapting to health mandates by adding a new entrance to accommodate a one-way traffic flow throughout the store. Both she and the 10 Chocolaterie Stam stores owned or licensed by Stam have boosted delivery services.

Stam has long held true to the advice from forefathers in Europe that a few well-considered consumer purchases can help smooth over the rough edges of troubled times. “You can have a nice bottle of wine and some chocolate” and unwind a bit, he said.

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