Dispatches From The Downturn: A Chocolate Shop

Diane Kron is the owner of K Chocolatier. i i

Diane Kron is the owner of K Chocolatier and talks about her chocolate boutique and how it's faring during the busiest time of year. Nancy Farghalli/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Nancy Farghalli/NPR
Diane Kron is the owner of K Chocolatier.

Diane Kron is the owner of K Chocolatier and talks about her chocolate boutique and how it's faring during the busiest time of year.

Nancy Farghalli/NPR

With a downturn in the economy, how are businesses coping? This story is the first in a series called "Dispatches from the Downturn" featuring voices on the frontline of consumer spending. First off, we hear from a chocolate boutique during their busiest time of the year, Valentine's week.

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Today, we kick off a weekly series called "Dispatches from the Downturn," our look at how companies are coping with the recession. First stop, a small business with a sweet tooth.

Ms. DIANE KRON (Owner, K Chocolatier): My name is Diane Kron, and my company is called K Chocolatier. We have two chocolate stores in California, and I have been in the luxury chocolate business, off and on, since 1973.

(Soundbite of song "Chocolate on My Tongue")

Ms. KRON: So, these are our whipped dark chocolate truffles. They're individually hand-cut, so they're all irregular. They have a chocolate center that is made from our family recipe. There's a little bit of rum in there, and they are every woman's dream chocolate. I used to make them in New York for Jackie Kennedy.

(Soundbite of song "Chocolate on My Tongue")

THE WOOD BROTHERS: (Singing) All that chocolate on my tongue And that's good enough reason to live

Ms. KRON: Well, we perhaps are the most expensive chocolates in United States. We have little mini-boxes that are $10. There are four pieces of chocolate. And then we have our truffle, which is probably about $80 a pound. We are feeling this kind of business climate differently than other people, because our customers are loyal. Perhaps they don't buy four packages at a time, they buy one for someone and one for themselves. But they seem to always buy one for themselves.

For your sweetheart, though, you have to give a gift. And we are fortunate that it's chocolate, which makes people feel good. And in a way, we are recession-proof, so people perhaps are not buying the cashmere scarf, but they're coming and they're buying a box of our famous truffles. Once you taste one of these, you're hooked forever. So, the minute someone walks into my shop, I give them a sample. And then they're all mine forever and ever, and they send it to all their friends. And the rest is history.

(Soundbite of song "Chocolate on My Tongue")

THE WOOD BROTHERS: (Singing) If I die young At least I got some chocolate on my tongue…

BRAND: That sweet Valentine note from producer Nancy Farghalli. Day to Day is an oh-so-sweet production of NPR News with contributions from Slate.com. I'm Madeleine Brand.

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