Where to start? While Samantha had been a customer of ours for a while, I first got to know her when we were running our Kickstarter campaign in 2013. Samantha approached me and told me she wanted to have a vocational vacation where she followed me around for a week to see what it was like to run a chocolate shop. I told her that following me around probably wouldn’t be that interesting, but that I’d be happy to put together a series of meetings where we consumed chocolate and talked about the business. This happened to be while we were working on our Kickstarter campaign, so we made a special reward category just for her. She had her vocational vacation, and we got closer to our Kickstarter goal.
I met with Samantha about once every 3 months for a year, sharing chocolate and talking shop. I got to know a lot about Samantha, and I experienced her tenacious personality first hand. She is a tour de force with incredible energy who figures out what motivates people and then she motivates them.
Samantha has become a fantastic friend. She’s one of the most loyal people I know, one who will drop everything for a friend to help them out in a time of need. This could include anything from installing a new Windows operating system on your cash register (a scary prospect if anything goes wrong, and she works for Microsoft) to building merchandising shelves for an awkward counter that needs some height. I think the pièce de resistance was when she said, “I’m going to build you a busing station.” She wanted to be able to self-bus and clean up after herself like most Seattleites. I went home and told my husband, Mark, and he just started laughing. It was so Samantha.
For Samantha, life is all about chocolate and dessert. When having dinner she’ll order something savory from the menu for sustenance, but she’s more interested in what’s on the dessert menu. If she likes a dessert she might order more than one so she has one to take home. Before meeting me for dinner, Samantha would arrive early at Chocolopolis and have a cup of drinking chocolate as an appetizer. She’d return to Chocolopolis after dinner for a second cup of drinking chocolate and additional chocolates.
Given her love of chocolate, it should come as no surprise that Samantha has developed a love of Paris. She visits at every opportunity, and, as she says below, she brings an extra carry-on for the chocolate she brings back. As the owner of a retail store I don’t get to travel as much as I would like. I live vicariously through the chocolates my customers bring me from their travels, and Samantha has become my Paris connection. Recently there was a new-ish Paris chocolatier, Edwart Chocolatier, featured on David Lebovitz’ blog. I knew Samantha was headed to Paris, so I sent her the link. A few weeks later I was holding a box of Edwart Chocolatier chocolates in my hands.
Samantha embodies the Chocolopolis chocolate community. She’s a member of our monthly customer tasting panel, and she’s developed friendships with other members of the panel. Some of them meet up outside of our monthly gatherings to share chocolate. It’s wonderful to see the Chocolopolis chocolate community growing in ways I never imagined.
Here’s more about Samantha in her own words.
What’s your favorite bar of chocolate right now?
I don’t do single favorites, but rather tend to keep a rotation of 6-8 bars in my backpack that I break pieces off of, depending on what I’m craving in that moment.
Do you have a favorite bar of all time?
Nope, please see above. If pushed, Bernachon’s Pepitas bar is probably my current closest to a favorite right now.
How did you discover Chocolopolis?
To be honest, I can’t even remember. It was late 2009- early 2010 when I first discovered it, had a cup of drinking chocolate, bought way too many bars, and that was it. An addict was born. I’ve been haunting Chocolopolis ever since.
What do you do when you’re not tasting chocolate?
I actually love to travel and I combine that with my love of chocolate. I bring an empty carry-on suitcase just to fill it with my chocolate finds. People are always asking me if I saw such and such museum/historic monument/etc, and I’m always, “No, but I found three new fantastic chocolate shops!”
Happy Hour samples chosen by Samantha:
“I’ve been going to a lot of movies this summer, so I’ve included a couple bars below that go well with salty popcorn. :)”