Ten years ago, Lyndon and Mattie Hershberger were looking for a way to bring in some extra income to their household.
That business, Kalona Chocolates, blossomed into a full-time endeavor for the both of them.
“When we started in 2009, we hoped that the business would grow to take the place of a part-time job that Mattie had so she could make chocolates instead of working outside the home,” Lyndon Hershberger said. “We’re both here full-time now. It’s gone beyond our expectations by a lot.”
In 2009, Mattie started making chocolates in the basement of her parents’ home.
Business grew quickly, and in 2011, they moved Kalona Chocolates into its current location at 211 Fifth St.
On Saturday, Kalona Chocolates hosted an open house to mark its 10th anniversary.
“We’re celebrating 10 years in business,” Lyndon Hershberger said.
He credited support from the community for the business’ success.
“The community support is just incredible, from locals coming in for birthday gifts and Christmas gifts,” he said. “A number of local businesses come in around the holidays to purchase gifts for their employees and clients.”
Over the years, the Hershbergers noticed that a lot of their business came from people purchasing chocolates for special occasions.
“We noticed that’s what people were doing,” Lyndon Hershberger said. “We like to say that we’re a piece of life’s special moments.”
What makes Kalona Chocolates stand out from other chocolates?
“What gives our product value is the freshness,” Lyndon Hershberger said. “We’re able to deliver it to our customers, in a lot of cases, within a few weeks after it has been produced.”
While Kalona Chocolates offers a wide variety of chocolates, one, in particular, has been a consistent best-seller.
“The single, most popular item is still the tadpole, our version of the turtle,” he said. “That has continued as a Kalona tradition.”