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Corporate Gifts - "What Do I Do This Year?"

Posted on September 9, 2008 8:14 AM by Allyson

It may seem early to be thinking about Christmas but I am one of those people known to buy gifts in the middle of Summer when something catches my eye. Truth be told, know how crazy my life gets around here come December. The last thing I’ll have time to think about is what kind of a corporate gift to send my team of 50 sales reps for Christmas. If I don’t figure it out in the next month, it just won’t happen (or I’ll have to send something easy like a box of chocolate!). If only I didn’t work for a chocolate company, then I could send chocolate and be the hero. But, a sales rep who generally has a full set of sales samples and endless supplies of chocolate at any given moment really wouldn’t get too excited about chocolate like an ordinary person would.

Last year, I sent Lake Champlain Chocolates logo water bottles (actually filled with chocolates which they did seem to really appreciate). I got great reviews about how often they think of LCC when they are driving in their car drinking out of our bottle. One year I sent embroidered apparel but the problem with that is inevitably you insult someone by sending the wrong size. And, they aren’t willing to call you up and say “hey – it was too small!”. Instead it probably sits in a closet unworn (or hopefully passed along to another appreciative owner). Handcrafted Vermont wooden recipe boxes were a gift one year but I do wonder what happened to those. Some probably thought “oh goodie – something to dust!” while others who aren’t avid cooks probably didn’t know what to do with it.

Probably the best gift of all they receive is the thoughtful, handwritten personalized card that I include with each gift thanking them for their commitment and passion for our chocolates. And if that’s the case, maybe I should consider sending them chocolates after all! I welcome any ideas out there to solve this dilemma!

 

 


Fundraising Made Easy

Posted on July 29, 2008 10:49 AM by Allyson
Recently, I met with the friendly people at Red Barn Fundraising (www.redbarnfundraising.com) to review our one-year old relationship.    They are really pleased with the success they’ve had offering the Chocolates of Vermont and Hot Chocolate.   After a few years in business focusing on churches, youth organizations, schools, and non-profits within the state of Vermont – they are now ready to expand outside the local area.

What’s really so special about this company is that they offer high quality, Vermont made products.  How refreshing!  So many times your neighbors or work colleagues talk you into buying poor quality, overpriced stuff you don’t need but feel obligated to buy.

With Red Barn Fundraising, all of their products are edible, delicious, and practical for gift giving or pure self-indulgence.    Baking mixes from King Arthur Flour make a great holiday gift or save you time in your own kitchen.   (Side note:  King Arthur Flour is my favorite source for online recipes).   And, Vermont Velvet Cheesecake from Rhino Foods is a ready-to-serve, gourmet dessert.   I can say based on first-hand, personal experience with the products that they are winners!  

We love the partnership because it helps community organizations to raise desperately needed funds, which gets more challenging every day.   The organizations can customize a fundraising program with the products they like best, or they can feature them all.   Even better, groups make approximately $5 for every item sold.   

Amy at Red Barn, has a wealth of experience in the area of fundraising.    If you are part of a group looking to raise money, email Amy at  info@redbarnfundraising.com.

Great Party to Celebrate 25 Years

Posted on February 13, 2008 8:22 AM by Allyson
I've been here at Lake Champlain Chocolates for nearly 15 years and always look forward to our annual company parties!   Our annual Christmas Party (now moved to February because we never could really enjoy the party during December when it was so hectic) has always been a good time but our party last Saturday was really special.    2008 is our 25th year in business and we used the party to mark the occasion with all of the great employees who work here at LCC.    

 So many employees have been here since the early days like David Bolton, John Weishaar, and Donna Mikalonis!!   The invitation featured a photo of our owner, Jim Lampman, back in 1983 in front of the Ice House Restaurant where the first truffle was born.   Emily Jones, our Factory Store Manager and chocolate artist extraordinaire, replicated this photograph in chocolate which we presented to Jim as a surprise at the event.     Taking the anniversary theme even a bit further, everyone was encouraged to come dressed as they were in 1983.    A 1980s fashion contest was held at the party with Blythe Usher (from our Customer Service Team) taking the top prize dressed like Cyndi Lauper.   It'll be hard to top this next year!


On a cold, 20-degree day here in Vermont there is nothing better than hot chocolate. And, although it was my day off from work (Sat), I came to LCC to take advantage of a free hot chocolate tasting and to hear a great group of local amateur musicians,The Hinesburg Brass Ensemble, perform holiday carols. Being a clarinet player, many of my colleagues asked why I wasn't playing; they didn't seem to understand that the clarinet is a wood-wind and doesn't qualify as a brass instrument. Worried at first that the acoustics of our factory store might not be ideal for seven brass players, I was pleasantly surprised - the sound was spectacular. The low notes of the tuba, french horn & trombone perfectly balanced out the trumpets. For nearly an hour and a half, the store was filled with festive holiday carols and shoppers sipping hot chocolate while they were tempted by dozens of gift options.


For me, it wasn't tough to pick a favorite Traditional, Aztec, and Old World Hot Chocolate. The traditional is your classic hot chocolate; just what you remember Grammie making for you after an afternoon of sledding. The spicy Aztec with its cinnamon & cayenne warmed my soul; reminding me of Christmas spice cookies.  But being the dark chocolate lover that I am, the Old World Hot Chocolate, made with 54% dark chocolate and milk, was hands-down my top choice.  Rich, chocolatey, and oh-so-satisfying on a cold (yup, still only Fall!!) day.