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• Each week, The Columbian offers a brief snapshot of an interesting Clark County business. Send ideas to Mary Ricks: firstname.lastname@example.org; fax 360-735-4598; phone 360-735-4550.
Business name: Choffy.
Owners: Jason Vanderhoven and Jason Sherwood.
Address: warehouse in Hazel Dell.
What the business does: Choffy is the originator of modern brewed chocolate, according to owners Jason Sherwood and Jason Vanderhoven. The company roasts and grinds 100 percent premium cacao (cocoa) beans in small artisan batches to create a rich, full-flavored drink. Sherwood and Vanderhoven said Choffy is richer and more robust than hot chocolate but it brews just like coffee. But unlike coffee, it supplies you with long-lasting energy without the crash and other negative effects of caffeine, they said. Choffy contains no sugar, dairy, or chemicals.
What steps are you taking to build your business as the economy recovers: The company has gone from a handful of local fans to having a blossoming national customer and independent distributor base, the owners said. They believe it is their opportunity and responsibility to develop broad, deep personal skills within each of their direct sales distributors. This personal development can include everything from communication and sales skills, fiscal responsibility, to healthier living.
Greatest challenge: The cacao market is in constant flux. As with most commodities, cacao is subject to many external factors such as climate change, government (in)stability and import/export legislation. These factors can affect everything from cacao availability, quality and not least of which, cost. As the company grows, its internal resources will continue to be critical to their success, Sherwood said. The company is constantly seeking dedicated, trained personnel and they continue to develop internal training materials to staff skills.
What is your favorite part of the job: Sherwood says that without question the best part of his job is working with the people at Choffy headquarters to help teach, build, and support independent distributors around the country. There is nothing more satisfying than seeing others loving the taste and health benefits of Choffy, he said.
What's ahead: The owners said they are working to bring new Choffy products to market. They expect to continue to expand their distributor numbers. Despite national economic confidence being low, they feel that the future is exceptionally bright.
Year established in Clark County: 2009.
Employees: Six full-time; part-time staff fluctuates.
Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., phone calls.