CocoAndre has the sweet taste of success for owners
How a little Oak Cliff sweet shop is making a big impression in the market.
Nestled among a block of small businesses in Oak Cliff is Andrea Pedraza’s little European chocolate shop.
Despite the sweltering Texas summer outside, CocoAndre’s interior is kept at 68 degrees year-round, to protect the handmade chocolate high heels, dogs, cowboy boots, truffles and Eiffel towers that fill the shelves.
Pedraza and her daughter, Cindy Pedraza, created CocoAndre as a solution to unemployment in 2009.
Cindy Pedraza previously worked as an account manager at Lewis Equipment Co., and Andrea Pedraza was head of production at Dallas’ Morgen Chocolate for 25 years. It went out of business in 2009.
“The economy was not looking good at that time for everybody, and I didn’t want to get into any debt or loans,” Andrea Pedraza said. “So we had to come up with our own strategy to make that happen.”
With two assistants coming with her from Morgen, Andrea and Cindy Pedraza opened CocoAndre in January 2010 with $5,000 of their savings.
Since that first year, CocoAndre chocolates have been sold at Central Market and Eatzi’s on Oak Lawn. They are now also sold at Peek in the Attic and Needle in a Haystack in Snider Plaza and at the Texas Theater in Oak Cliff.
CocoAndre’s relationships with Eatzi’s and Peek in the Attic stemmed from the retailers’ previous work with Morgen Chocolates. Cindy Pedraza said Eatzi’s, which orders year-round, is one of CocoAndre’s strongest corporate clients.
The Pedrazas said the first year was slow, but they have seen revenue double annually.
“When we first started we were happy when we made $30 or $50 a day,” Cindy Pedraza said. “Now we’re way past that even in the summer.”
They are selling up to $700 of chocolate per day, even during the slow summer season and have sold 4,000 pounds so far this year.
Andrea Pedraza attributes the growth to sticking to plans, budgets and goals.
“The cost of buying high quality fine chocolate can only be controlled by buying in large quantities,” Cindy Pedraza said. “So as we grow and our buying power increases this will lower our costs.”
Read the full article here...