Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory is a chocolate lover’s heaven!

You walk in the door and it hits you.Mmmmmmmm. Chocolate in the air.

The intoxicating aroma of it caresses your nostrils. Wafts across the counters. Declicious. Fragrant. Chocolate.

Lovely brown chocolate everywhere! Chocolate fudge! Caramel candy apples! Yellow, red and blue smarties. Chocolate-coated…everything!

The glass display cases in the brightly-lit wood-panelled store are festooned with printed-paper packages, orange bowed plastic wrapping, polka dots and gold seal stickers.

Wrappers crinkle. The till jingles. Customers smile. Customers smile a lot.

Just walking into Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory puts a smile on your face.

“People are happy when they come in here and they’re happy when they leave,” says Terry Watson, owner of Campbell River’s Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory outlet.

It’s a small store but for a chocolate lover, it’s a little piece of heaven here in Campbell River.

Opened in 1998, Watson transitioned from a career in health care to a purveyor of happiness. At least, judging by the smile on Watson’s face as she talks about her business, it seems like happiness is the real product here.

Think about it. Chocolate is always used for the purpose of Good. It’s given as a present for the love of your life. It’s a reward for hard work. It’s a gift for a darling child. It’s Christmas. It’s Valentine’s Day. It’s Halloween. It’s…just because you deserve a treat.

Even as a business operation, Watson and Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory do what they can to support other local businesses by sourcing local products.

“I really like to stay in the community as much as possible,” Watson says.

The raw chocolate is provided by the company but the apples, sugar, glucose, canned milk, cream, butter, etc. is sourced locally as much as possible.

“It’s very much what you can source out locally to help the local economy,” Watson says.candy-apples

Watson turned to the idea of a Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory franchise because she had always wanted to move to the coast and wanted to set up her own business.

She wasn’t completely new to the food industry. Besides working in long term care, she also ran a catering business on the side.

She has always loved to cook and frequently made chocolates for Christmas and other occasions, giving them away as gifts.

Making chocolates is also a creative endeavour as you produce not only the products you would expect like caramel apples, fudge of all kinds, chocolate bars and nut clusters but also launching your own ideas. That is one of the things Watson appreciates about Rocky Mountain, she has leeway to create her own products that reflect the local community – like chocolate salmon.

The Campbell River store created a product – O’Rockies – that has been picked up and distributed company-wide. And, of course, it helps to love chocolate, its smell, its taste.

And there’s the association with good times, with growing up. It’s reminiscent of pulling toffee on Saturday nights and the little old lady down the road who made caramel apples for Halloween.

“I just like making people feel good,” Watson says. “You give them a product they really enjoy.”

Plus there’s an opportunity to educate people about good chocolate and bad chocolate.

“Good chocolate is pure,” Watson says.

apple-closeupThe whole gamut of chocolate products are available at Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory from peanut butter cups to creams, mints to no-sugar products, plus a whole line of caramels and peanut butter cups, candy apples, candy and caramels dipped in chocolate, marshmallows dipped in chocolate (“Because we feel anything tastes better dipped in chocolate”), gellato and more.

And chocolate can even provide insight into the character of a community. For example, Campbell River for some reason likes boxed chocolate.

“We probably lead the company in box chocolate sales (per capita),” Watson says.

But don’t think it’s always fun and games. It is still hard work. Making and mixing chocolate can be physically demanding. There are heavy trays of caramel apples to be shifted around and packaging it requires tying thousands of bows.

But it’s still, in the end, a fun place to be. Not only to buy the products but it’s fun to watch it being made. Molten chocolate is spun around in a mixing machine and the apples are dipped in the delicious, goopy, yummy mass.

People often stand in the window and watch the chocolates being made. Tourists on their way up north are often known to drop by.

Because really, who can resist chocolate? The smell, the taste…