We took a leap of faith
James Findlay and I opened Cocoa Mountain in June 2006 as a café and
chocolate shop in Durness. Jameshad worked in IT and I was in marketing,
but we used to like playing around with chocolate, making it for friends
and parties. When impulsively we moved to Durness in 2004, our friends
suggested that chocolate would be a lovely way of making a living.
Our hope was that we would have a small business that would sustain
us – because the local market here is very seasonal, there are only
seven or eight months where there are visitors in the area. We felt that
during those summer months we could work hard enough to see us through
Then business boomed
What we then found was that our tiny little café, our ‘chocolaterie’,
became far more successful than we ever thought it would. Each morning
we make chocolates, for the shop and café, but also for the orders we
get through our website (cocoamountain.co.uk)
from all over the world. A lot of our customers are tourists, which
translates into online sales. The tourists enjoy the chocolate, go home
and then order more.
Now we’re expanding
Early on we realised that we wanted to expand the number of outlets
we had, but each one must work like a version of the one here. We were
approached by a lady who was looking to open an outlet, and we will
fully train her and replicate what we do here by licensing our expertise
so that she can open a second outlet in Auchterarder. The Bank has been
able to support us with this through their franchising arm.
Looking to franchise?
NatWest can help you franchise your business franchising
Call 0800 158 2012 (Minicom 0800 404 6161)