ORILLIA AREA COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION
A passion for art and years of experience in the hospitality business came together in the form of Georgian Chocolate Co. for Jenna Green and Sean Carter.
The couple was in the market looking for a local business that would fit their vision of supporting local, and that’s when they met the previous owner of the chocolate business.
“We really hit it off with the previous owner,” said Green. “Everything is ethically sourced and sustainable and has a positive impact on the environment. That fit really well with our personal values. We could feel passionate and carry forward.”
With their future in plain sight, the two were still unsure of the next steps. A quick trip to the Orillia Area Community Development Corp. (CDC) put them on track to develop a business plan.
“They were able to lay out how we should go about building one,” said Green. Later, the CDC helped them fine-tune their plan.
As the next step, the CDC also helped them acquire a loan. They then connected Carter and Green with a local lawyer, who helped them with the paperwork. Two-and-half months later, Carter and Green had a business to their name.
“The CDC was really good and prompt in helping us,” said Green. “They were always available for face-to-face meetings.”
Carter agreed with Green and added that CDC staff are approachable and the experience is much more personal than going to a bank.
“We wanted to have local connections and build relationships in the community,” said Carter. “And the CDC was able to help us out there too by connecting us with local resources.”
In keeping with their philosophy, Green and Carter source artwork from local artists for their packaging. They also like to experiment with chocolate recipes.
“Innovation is important to keep ahead of the game,” said Green. “Also, to have a positive environmental impact, we need to be creative and innovative. In the near future, when we want to expand our business, the CDC will be our first stop,” Carter said.