Graeme is the proprietor of Chocky Sweet Box, and tells his story of how he expanded from a $30 start up capital to a nationally distributed chocolate and sweets producer.   Warning:  there are references to wombat poo which may be offensive to some people ;-).  
Graeme started his business, with just $30, in Lakes Entrance 9 years ago, using a family recipe for truffles which were actually infused with truffles and liqueur.  He discontinued the use of truffles due to cost and taste issues.   He started selling locally, then expanded to Pakenham, then to Melbourne hotels, and has now spread nationally.
 
The MMMM Truffles business was a tourist attraction in Lakes Entrance, but custom was very much restricted to the summer season, so he relocated to Bairnsdale where there is a more steady, year round clientele. He did run both businesses for a time, but has now closed the Lakes Entrance branch.
 
All Graeme’s sweets were hand made and hand stirred, although he has had to invest in a mixer as quantities have increased and he developed injuries.  This caused one costly glitch with contamination, but that has now been resolved.
 
Graeme’s product lines have increased immensely, from just chocolate truffles to all sorts of sweets – more than 1000 products - even made to order.  Graeme is one of a select few capable of making hand pulled candy, and he is planning to produce rock with business names in it (Sharon suggested that it’s perhaps not appropriate for her Riviera Dental Clinic, but Malcolm and Pearl are keen!!).
 
He has renamed his business from MMMM Truffles to Chocky Sweet Box, and has set up a wonderful sweet shop in Bailey Street with all sorts of sweets, chocolates and novelty items.  He continues to market to hotels nationally, and a special hit is his nationally sold “Wombat Poo” – the only nationally wholesaled Wombat Poo (now THERE’s a claim!!).  As Graeme commented,  “Sometimes you NEED a bit of crap!”
 
Everything in Graeme’s sweet shop is made by Graeme!! He has to close the doors on the day he makes honeycomb to prevent a shop full of confused bees.  His recipes use less sugar than traditionally, in line with our changing tastes and health needs.
 
He makes the best hot chocolate in town, and is open Monday-Friday and Saturday mornings.  Graeme has given us all an excuse to indulge in some sweet treats, knowing we’re supporting a hard-working, entrepreneurial local.  
 
Julie thanked Graeme for his talk, and especially for the samples he so generously brought in.  Maybe the best guest speaker we’ve ever had, Pearl.  Keep up the good work!
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