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Location & Info
New owners: Nicki & Adrian Straton!!
Nicki & Adrian Straton
Having fun in the kitchen!
Original Owners .. the dream begins
Jennifer Gregory & Chris Weippert
The beginnings of Chocolate Mill:
Dreaming and searching
The dream started in January 2000 with the idea of building an environmentally friendly business, using only the best quality ingredients and of course 100% European Chocolate.
In January 2001 Jen and I moved from Perth to Daylesford. Jen worked in Melbourne and Ballarat commuting daily and I worked on getting the building under way. In August that year we moved from 'the ice box' unit in Hepburn to a shed on the property that I had built, so that we could save enough money to meet "the bank's requirements". This move proved to be the best thing. With the wood stove to cook on and to keep us warm the 5 x 6m insulated shed proved to be a great home for the 28 months that we lived in it. For the first 20 months we had no electricity. We were also living on $7 per day for food for the two of us, which ruled out any extras.
Building the dream
In February 2002 the steel frame was finally put up. Within a week we had the joists for the first floor up and plywood down. At the end of 3 the roof was on- we were on a roll. For the next 20 months I worked on the building 6 days a week - on Sunday we had waffles and a sleep in ;) Some days it seemed like nothing got done and others heaps.
Setting up the business side
In July 2003 Jen's contract in Ballarat finished so we decided that it was time to take the plunge. Jen put all her time into getting things ready to open - so much to organise and to design, have made, printed, find, order, double check and triple check. We wanted it so that when we opened we would make a big impression right from the start. Two weeks before opening we had $44.00 in the bank and we realised we couldn't hold off any longer to open.
Tim, Chris, Jen and Joanne celebrate the end of Day 1 with champers :-)
Beautiful flowers and wishes sent from our family in Canada
Since our first year we have been overwhelmed by amount of true chocoholics that have returned over and over, as well as the support from locals and local businesses.
Building the Hot Chocolate Cafe
In September 2005 we took it upon ourselves to start building the extension, which would house the Hot Chocolate Cafe. I worked 4 days a week on building and the other 3 days and nights keeping up my end up on chocolate production. During this time Jen managed to keep the chocolate rolling as the demand steadily increased. At this point we had 10 staff members to manage as well and the paperwork grew into a mountain.