Chocolate, Happiness & Other Musings

A Day of Merriment to Support Beacon Santa

As we do for many of The Happy Chocolatier major holidays, we support a local charity. Again this year we will be donating a portion of sales from Saturday December 9, to Beacon Santa. This is our 6th year of supporting the work of Beacon Santa. It is another way for The Happy Chocolatier to spread some happiness.

Come in to make your purchases for Christmas on December 9, and help us help those less fortunate this holiday season.

The Acton Boxborough High School Madrigal Singers and Santa will be at the plaza from 11:00 to 12:00 to add to the fun!

The Beacon Santa Fund is a nonprofit organization administered through GateHouse Media New England, the Beacon’s parent company. Since 1965, Beacon Santa has helped families having trouble making ends meet provide holiday gifts for their children. Originally started through The Beacon, the fund now helps families in Acton, Bedford, Boxborough, Billerica, Carlisle, Chelmsford, Concord, Lexington, Lincoln, Littleton, Maynard, Stow, Tewksbury, Westford and Wilmington.

Special Early Bird Sale on November 18th from 6:30 to 10:00 AM

Many of the shops in Acton Woods Plaza on 340 Great Road, including The Happy Chocolatier, are hosting a fun early bird sale on Saturday November 18th. The participating shops are opening early at 6:30 and offering special discounts until 10:00. We call it PJ Day — it’s early, so just roll out of bed and come have some fun!

At The Happy Chocolatier, our special offer will work as follows: from 6:30 to 7:30 AM, get 20% discount, from 7:30 to 8:30 get 15% discount, from 9:30 to 10:00 get 10% discount. The offer applies to in stock items only and cannot be combined with other offers.

The Happy Chocolatier will be offering samples of some our special chocolates — it’s never to early in the day for a good piece of chocolate!

Corporate Gift Choices: Unique is better than Ubiquitous

Many times a well-known brand signifies quality. However, a nationally branded product is ubiquitous – available at all types of outlets from department stores to warehouse clubs. These products by virtue of their wide-spread availability aren’t particularly special. If you want a truly memorable gift that demonstrates how much you care about your relationship, then searching out a unique gift is something to think about.

There are many choices for local, hand-crafted or artisanal gifts. Food is a particularly fun way to present a unique gift that isn’t readily available on the mass market. Whether it is hand-crafted chocolates, or locally made wines or cheese, you can choose a special gift that will demonstrate the extra care you put into the selection and complement your message of “thanks.”artisanal

Going the extra step in choosing your corporate gift will remind your customers, clients and employees how important their relationship is to you. Instead of going online to the “gift basket” Web site or dropping by the local warehouse club, contact a local business.

Many small businesses, like The Happy Chocolatier, offer a complete corporate gift service creating a customized gift collection and shipping the gifts.

Holiday Business Gift Planning: 4 Easy Steps

It shouldn’t be a stressful experience…

Giving gifts is a perfect way to show appreciation to customers, clients, referral sources and employees. A quality business gift provides a memorable means of making contact or staying in touch. This is the time of year when many businesses start the “fire drill” of figuring out what the company’s corporate gift program will entail for year end. It can be a very simple process. Here are four steps to get you started:

  1. Determine the budget and gift recipient listcorporate gift, chocolate, holiday, gift box
    Start with the budget. When determining a budget, evaluate the size of your list of recipients and plan for quality. Sending a cheap gift tells the recipients you don’t really appreciate them. A budget will also help focus the types of gifts you consider. No sense looking at a particular item if it is beyond your budget. Some smaller companies will work with you to develop a spending plan and possibly segment the recipient list by size of client/customer and provide you a customized spending proposal.
  2. Research: look online AND poll your network
    The Internet is helpful and a great start. However, word of mouth is even better. Poll your network (business associates and family) and find out what company others may have used. Ask about their service experience. Ask about the feedback from recipients. Better yet, look around town and find a local supplier that isn’t just some anonymous online Web site. Like anything else, word of mouth is the most meaningful recommendation. If the gift you choose is a food product like chocolate or cheese, be sure to check out customer comments about the quality of the company’s offerings.corporate gift, chocolate, customized gift
  3. Choose a partner that provides value-added services
    Make your life easy by choosing a corporate gift partner that not only provides quality gifts, but also provides additional time-saving services for you:
    – Utilizing your recipient list in the way you wish to provide it (e.g. print or spreadsheet) vs. how it fits into their online system
    – Developing custom gift selections to meet varying budgets linked to different segments of your gift list
    – Personalizing your gifts through inclusion of your greeting card, business card or marketing materials
  4. Ask who will work on your order
    You want to be confident that your order will be handled professionally and with attention to detail. If you can’t get the name of a key contact (i.e. not customer service), then move on. If the contact name you are given is the business owner, then you should feel confident placing the order. It is critical to have a contact person who will be responsible for ensuring that your order is completed on time and that each gift is packaged with care.

Follow these four simple steps and you will choose a partner that will make you and your corporate gift program a success. In the holiday season, you want to hear kudos from your customers or clients, not complaints about the quality of the gifts.

Habits of Happy People – A Perspective

A recent column from INC. Magazine provided a “scientific” view of what made people happy. It is an entertaining read: “9 Daily Habits of the Happiest People You Know According to Science.” While we don’t necessarily concur or embrace all of them, several did resonate with us at The Happy Chocolatier:

#5 They give their time and money away.

We think volunteerism and donating to good causes does indeed make one happy. In our experience it is always a good feeling to help another. So, we try our best within our means to give back to our community.

#6 They are grateful.happy, Cubze, chocolate, happiness

Focusing on what we are thankful for – even the small things – does indeed make us happier. Starting a small business and growing it despite many challenges makes us happy. Instead of focusing on the challenging problems, we think about the things that have gone well. From that, we have the energy and focus to work through the problems that inevitably arise.

Nothing brings us a smile – and consequently some happiness – than a short anecdote from a customer about how our chocolates brought someone a little bit of happiness. We are indeed grateful for the comments.

#7 They are more physically active.

While we aren’t out there running any marathon, we do believe that activity is good for the mind, body and soul. There is definitely a link between activity and happiness. Activity can express itself in many ways…from a nice relaxing walk in the woods to running around the shop during the busy season!

One more for good measure.

We would add one more “habit.” A small treat – in our case a truffle Cubze perhaps – each day can be a little respite from a busy day and provide a small bit of happiness.

Filling Easter Baskets & Feeding Those Less Fortunate

acton. acton food pantryChocolate bunnies have been part of the Easter tradition for a very long time. This year, we at The Happy Chocolatier would like to add another element to the Easter chocolate and candy tradition: feeding those less fortunate.

Parents fill Easter baskets with chocolate bunnies and other treats every year. Easter Sunday is a time of joy as Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. It is also a time of celebration and fun for children as they awake to find their Easter baskets brimming with treats like chocolate bunnies, buttercream eggs, foiled chocolate eggs, jelly beans and much more.

This year when people purchase Easter chocolates and candy from The Happy Chocolatier, they will be adding another element of joy to the season. The Happy Chocolatier is going to donate a portion of sales from Easter candy purchases to Acton Community Supper and Food Pantry.

So, while we are all enjoying the holiday with our families, we can also know that a part of our Easter celebration helped to feed those less fortunate. Jesus did ask us to feed the hungry, right? Well in 2016, Acton Community Supper and Food Pantry distributed 291,275 pounds of food to an average of 754 individuals each month. That’s a lot of families and we’d love to help them out.

Why Do Businesses Only Give Gifts at Year-End?

chocolate, corporate gift, business giftBusinesses have reasons throughout the year to express thanks to business associates. Yet, generally businesses only send or give gifts at the end of the year. Why? This seems like a disconnect.

There are many reasons to give chocolates at various times during the year. Here are some ideas from our customers:

  • A professional services firm sends a box of chocolates along with a thank you note to clients who have recently completed a project.
  • A contractor sends a box of chocolates along with a hand-written note to customers at the completion of large jobs.
  • A designer/contractor personally presents our truffle Cubze to new customers at the initiation of a job.
  • A large corporation ordered chocolates to present a large chocolate buffet to employees. They chose a variety of chocolates and set them out on a buffet for employees during lunch. Employees were able to enjoy the chocolates and mingle with co-workers.

What we’ve heard from our business gift customers:

“My clients love your chocolates & so do I! I dropped off the chocolates at a few of my clients & received a call the same day saying how delicious they were!”

“Thank you – I’ve already received some great compliments.”

“Absolutely awesome … people loved them, as always!”  

“I know for sure your chocolates will bring smiles!”

corporate gift, business gift, chocolateWhy wouldn’t businesses want to have customers or employees feel this way throughout the year?

Here’s what we offer at The Happy Chocolatier:

  • Ongoing Mailing Program: Businesses provide us note cards which we keep on file. Once a week, we receive an email with a list of contacts to send the notes and chocolate selection. This is a very easy and affordable, yet memorable, way to say thanks to customers or a referral source.
  • Chocolate Buffets: Businesses work with us to develop a chocolate selection they think appeals to their employees. We provide the chocolates in bulk and they are set out in a common area for employees to enjoy. Or, we can take care of the whole process by bringing the chocolates and setting up the chocolate buffet.
  • Customized Chocolates and Packaging: To mark a milestone like a new product launch, company anniversary or sales achievement, businesses work with us to develop either a custom chocolate piece or a customized box of chocolates. These chocolates are presented to business associates at events or on a launch day.

So, if you really want to stand out and spread some chocolate happiness, give business gifts throughout the year.  We’re happy to chat with you about what you can do and create customized gifts to meet your needs. You can reach us at (978) 429-8485 or info@thehappychocolatier.com.

Why Not Host a Chocolate Buffet at the Office in the Early Spring?

chocolate buffet, chocolate, assorted chocolateEveryone loves a great ice cream buffet in the summer. So in the winter and early spring when everyone’s cooped up inside and wishing for summer, why not surprise employees with a chocolate buffet? Choose some chocolates, spread them out in a common area and let employees enjoy. Or, surprise employees by placing small chocolate selections on each employee’s desk. These are both great low cost ways of spreading some cheer at the office or simply letting employees know you appreciate them.

Here are some ideas from our customers:

  • A large corporation ordered chocolates for a large chocolate buffet for employees. They chose a variety of chocolates and set them out on a buffet for employees during lunch. Employees were able to enjoy the chocolates and mingle with co-workers.
    Here’s what they told us: “Everyone loved the chocolates and was excited to be able to pick out what they wanted. I think it was a big hit!”
  • A small office came in and purchased petite boxes of chocolate to leave on every employee’s desk.
    Here’s what they told us: “The office loved the chocolates!”
  • A mid-size company worked with us to develop a custom box of chocolates and they then strolled around the company with a cart and passed out the chocolates to employees at their desks.

Here’s what we can do for your business at The Happy Chocolatier:

  • Chocolate Buffets: Businesses chocolate, assorted chocolate, chocolate buffetwork with us to develop a chocolate selection they think will appeal to employees. We provide the chocolates in bulk and they are set out in a common area for employees to enjoy. Or, we can take care of the whole process by bringing the chocolates and setting up the chocolate buffet.
  • Customized Chocolates and Packaging: To mark a milestone like a new product launch, company anniversary or sales achievement, businesses work with us to develop either a custom chocolate piece or a customized box of chocolates. These chocolates are presented to business associates at events or on a launch day.

If you really want to let your employees know you appreciate them and spread some chocolate happiness, give us a call. You can reach us at (978) 429-8485 or info@thehappychocolatier.com.

Corporate Gifts Aren’t Just for the Holiday Season

A Box of Chocolates is A Great Way to Stand Out

corporate gift, business gift, chocolateEvery holiday season business gifts are sent and received. Generally they are appreciated. However, if you really want to stand out from the crowd, you should give business gifts throughout the year. We all get busy with projects and deadlines, and often miss an opportunity to mark some milestone. Celebrating something that may have been mentioned in passing can show your clients, customers and employees that you are really listening and appreciate them. There are many reasons throughout the calendar year to send or give a business gift:

  • A deal closing
  • Acknowledgement of a referral
  • Introduction of a new product or market
  • Reaching a business milestone
  • A job promotion
  • Celebration of life events such as a new baby, a wedding or even birthday

And of course, there is always the simple “thank you for your business” gift.

We are not suggesting extravagant gifts. Many times a small box of chocolates is appropriate and will communicate the value you place on your relationship. A small but unexpected gesture during the year will be appreciated by your client, customer or employee and remembered.