Case Study: Cocoa Mountain

“We’ve taken our business global”

Cocoa Mountain, Paul Maden, co-owner

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 the winter.

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 ( 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.

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