Fruition Chocolate Works has installed a walkup to-go window at its recently expanded chocolate factory to keep its team and customers safe during these challenging times.
This small-batch chocolate company is helmed by renowned chocolate-maker Bryan Graham and his wife, Dahlia, now-CEO, who both grew up in Woodstock and have set down their roots to stay.
In March 2020, when the coronavirus shutdown began, the situation looked dire for Fruition. In the nine years since the company was founded, sales had been mounting steadily. Fruition had earned more than 73 awards, including Best in Competition at the International Chocolate Awards in 2016.
Dessert Professional Magazine had recognized Bryan Graham as one of the Top 10 chocolatiers in North America. The company had appeared in the pages of Food & Wine, Bon Appétit and the New York Times, among others. Fruition was on an uphill trajectory, which now seemed destined to plummet.
The pandemic required a drastic change in Fruition’s business plan.
Bryan and Dahlia acted quickly to keep their team safe. They promptly closed their retail boutique in the town of Woodstock, pivoted their Shokan operation to curbside pickup and online mail-order only and reduced staff by roughly 75 percent. In June, after having secured a Paycheck Protection Program loan and a Small Business Administration Economic Injury Development loan, Fruition felt ready to rebuild its team and launched a long-time dream of offering soft-serve ice cream made onsite.
With the surge of visitors to the area, and the Ashokan Rail Trail passing right behind the locale, the ice cream took off and the buzz started to spread. In fall, Fruition wrapped up ice cream for the season and focused on launching hot chocolate, espresso drinks, pans of brownies and chocolate chip cookies. The core products, including best-selling Brown Butter Bourbon Caramels and award-winning Chocolate Bar Tasting Sets, are still available, as well as a newly expanded selection of curated pantry goods including local items such as Westwind Orchard syrup, jam and honey, and ImmuneSchein ginger elixirs.
Now in November, Fruition is feeling encouraged by the growth in online sales and custom orders, despite the ups and downs experienced in the flow of wholesale and retail sales channels due to the pandemic.
“If we can just stay healthy and keep finding creative ways to engage our customers, we will not only be okay, but we may actually be better off than before,” Dahlia Graham says. “The pandemic forced us to think on our feet.”
Fruition Chocolate Works is open daily from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. at 3091 State Route 28 in Shokan, NY. Customers can order onsite or online. Window service only for the time being. Masks and distancing required.