After working in the pub industry for 10 years Peter Gardner saw the company he worked for go under and he lost his job. Deciding to start over he taught himself how to make chocolate online and set up his first storeand with the support of £10,000 from the Start Up Loans Company – Cocoa Amore was born.
Peter is the passion and the drive behind the business which started off from very humble beginnings. Peter is very open about his path into business. His only real qualification is an NVQ in Bar Tending and after setting up as a franchisee of a pub, he was forced to declare bankruptcy by the age of just 26. From then he worked as a porter, spending all his spare time saving and learning business from reading books and internet research.
With just £6000 in savings Peter launched into chocolate making, setting up his first shop. He learnt about chocolate and how to make it from reading, the internet and lots of practice and is always experimenting and creating unique creations. Despite no formal training, Peter is passionate about the taste of chocolate:
“New flavours come from all around me. I’m always reading recipe books and watching recipe videos trying to keep up with modern trends and techniques. A lot of flavours are asked for by customers and we develop them around their requests. Some work, some don’t. Perfecting products comes from a lot of trial and error and practice.”
After setting up in Loughborough, Peter has plans to go global. He hopes to build the business up through a franchisee scheme where Cocoa Amore the brand can develop its creative and indulgent offerings to high streets up and down the country, and has interest from the Middle East already.
With handmade offerings in the shop customers can also try some chocolate from other origins and other brands such as Rococo and Zotter’s India Masala hot chocolate. Cocoa Amore also offers raw materials and even corporate training days. Currently Peter currently employs two full time staff members, an apprentice, four casuals and two work experience people, meaning the team is well placed to continue to deliver delicious chocolate through the range on offer in store as well as their ‘open kitchen’ policy and chocolate making workshops.
“I want to focus on chocolate and want to do one thing and do it well.”