Blog

  • Retail Shop Update: Help Us Get Creative

    Ok, things are getting fun now. The enthusiasm we are getting from our customers, friends, and family is just amazing. It may seem like a small thing to you, but you help us feel more excited and less stressed, and that is invaluable. So, thank you.

    “What’s the news? Are you moved yet?”

    The Gist

    Two big questions we hear a lot these days. We could talk about it for hours and hours! *chuckle*. The short answer is, we have not opened yet, doesn't even feel close, so we are targeting the beginning of May. We aren’t moving, just opening a dedicated retail space and keeping the kitchen where it is. And there will be a little gathering / soft opening party. You’re all invited. Details to come.

    Landlord Application & Lease Negotiation: Completed

    General Contractor Interviews & Bid Negotiation: Completed

    Landlord Approval of Construction Plans: Completed

    Health Department Approval of Construction Plans: In Progress

    Construction: Pending Approvals

    Signage & Decoration: Pending Construction

    Opening: Pending Signage & Decoration


    What We’re Thinking About Now

    Our Funding goal maximum of $18k is close

    We feel flattered and humbled that so many of you are contributing to the build effort through Community Sourced Capital. Our minimum goal was $9K from our community to secure an $18K loan (Craft3 is matching dollar for dollar) and we smashed that target within a few days. WOW!  The best case scenario for us is to get to $18K raised from our community so we can secure a total loan of $36K. Two weeks in and we are currently at $15,250. Just $2,750 to go. That is so awesome. We know this isn’t a choice you are making out of fiscal wisdom, there is no financial gain on this loan, but instead because you believe and hope to see Intrigue succeed. You have our word, we’ll honor that and pay it back, and pay it forward.

    If you would still like to participate to get us to the $18K mark, you can do so at CommunitySourcedCapital.com. Thank you in advance!

    The Magic: Behind the Scenes

    Response from our regular hangout customers has been overwhelmingly positive, but also bittersweet. They understand the need to expand but don’t want to lose the behind the scenes feel. We don’t either. Keeping the conversational and personable experience is our top priority. We talk about it every day. We want to host you there and hope you’ll feel welcome, comfortable, and want to hang out with us and talk food and chocolate.

    However we won’t be hidden any more. Those that have ventured out to find us won’t be on the cutting edge of knowing someplace secret. But our goal is to make sure you will still want to bring guests to experience something special, unique, and different. That is scale-able for us as a business.

    How do we do that?

    Focus on the conversation: The majority of our investment will be invested in building a bar top where we can sample coffee, tea, and chocolate. It should be comfortable, and a pretty darn cool space to just hang out with us and chat about all the spices we’ll have there to see and smell and brew up into teas just for fun.

    Work space: Making teas and coffees is pretty simple and doesn't require much space, but all the pieces for a fully functional kitchen will be in place. Work will happen there, just not the whole process. Instead we’ll do some of the interesting and fun stuff together.

    Practical materials: An architect from Olson & Kundig said to us in passing that we should embrace the natural aesthetic of the materials best suited to do the job. Stainless steel isn’t always pretty, but it is functional and does have its own appeal. We aren't afraid of it not being "pretty" anymore. We think you, like us, prefer the beauty of raw industry and craft.

    Above you can see the scullery and work table on the left (east wall), behind the tasting bar. Windows and sales counter on the bottom (north facing) wall, and retail will be on the top and right (south and west) walls.

    The Devil is in the Details

    The basic layout is done, but now comes the tricky part: picking colors, materials, shelving patterns, lighting... It’s the fun stuff, right?!

    We could really use your help here. Tell us what you see for our space. Build us a pinterest board, link to websites in the comments. We want your feedback, and no idea is too strange or too dull or too outlandish. This is brainstorming and mood board time. You can post links here, or email me at karl@intriguechocolate.com.

  • Intrigue Chocolate Co. New Retail Shop

    We did it! We signed a lease on a new retail shop!

    The Intrigue Chocolate team is on cloud nine. It's not only a big step for the business, we also know an easier to find street-level shop means we will see many of you more frequently, and that's awesome.

    A fund raising campaign is up and running through Community Sourced Capital. Micro-loans of $50 or more are matched dollar for dollar, so your contributions have a significant impact. A bit more about CSC and our plan is on the campaign page. If you are able to and choose to help us with a micro-loan, you have our sincere gratitude!

    Improving the  Retail Experience

    If you've ever visited our current kitchen/retail workshop, you know it can be a bit difficult to find. The hallways and stairs to and from our door...um...have a lot of character. Those that make it to us are rewarded with a chocolate tasting, but we know we lose some folks along the way.

    The new retail shop is just east of the intersection of Jackson and Occidental. We'll join the walking avenue with other eateries such as London Plane, Bar Sajor, and Rain Shadow Meats, as well as the always active Starbucks, Cafe Umbria, and Zeitgeist Cafe. This is an up-and-coming section of Pioneer Square and our shop will have plenty of visibility.

    We hope this space will mimic some important elements from our "behind-the-scenes" converted kitchen experience that customers enjoy now. Namely, the conversational elements of the tasting flights, seeing and smelling the spices mixed into the chocolate, and the simple and welcoming aesthetic of practical materials. What we hope to add is an easier purchasing process and more retail display for fun items like flavored sugars, tea blends, and tempered chocolate bars.

    Last Thursday we had the fortune of hosting architects and interior designers from Olson & Kundig in our new space. They broke the box with cool ideas and vision for how a person can experience the space. Below are a few pictures before it really got packed in there.

     

    About Community Sourced Capital

    To accomplish the construction of our tasting bar, building a scullery, and painting the walls, we have enlisted the help of Community Sourced Capital. CSC helps small businesses acquire loans smaller than banks like to offer.

    CSC can offer us this smaller sized loan by aggregating micro-loans from you, our community, neighbors, friends, and family. CSC calls these loan segments “squares”, or $50 increments of the greater total loan. The minimum square is $50, the maximum being $1,000 per person. Every month CSC will work with us to review our profit numbers and determine a responsible payment back to the lenders based on our net profit, plus a $100 fee to CSC for the service and to encourage quick repayment.

    If you would like to help support this effort of ours, please check out the CSC campaign page here: http://csc.rocks/intriguechocolate. Thank you in advance!

     

  • Tea Blend in the Spirt of Valentine's Day

    Aaron was inspired to craft a tea blend to match the festivities here at the shop and we’d like to share it with you. You will receive a small packet of the tea with every chocolate purchase in the shop or online this week.

    We are however choosing not to call it “Valentine’s Day Tea”, because we know not everyone is a fan of the day *chuckle*. If that’s you, then you can instead think of this tea as a reminder that spring is just around the corner.

    So what’s in it? Dried rose petals and Darjeeling black tea. You’ll have enough tea for a small teapot. Just steep for 4 minutes in 24floz of 200F water.

    The clean, slightly floral base of the Darjeeling tea is nicely complimented by the unmistakable aroma of rose garden. That’s right! We promised you a rose garden.

  • New Items: Greeting Cards and Canvas Bags

    We are proud to announce two new items to the shopping cart: greeting cards, and logo'd canvas bags.

    The beautiful greeting cards are produced by photographer Charity Burggraaf, the same photographer responsible for all the professional looking photos on our website (some of them we've taken and attempted to mimic her style, like the bag below... we do ok, but Charity is better!). These cards are blank on the inside, so you can write what you wish. Or you can request we write something inside the card and one of us at Intrigue with good penmanship will put it together for you. You can see all seven styles of greeting card here.

    Canvas bags joined our line up as more of a necessity. Turns out large orders of chocolate really need a strong bag to help carry them home! The bags are 100% cotton, well constructed, and big enough to hold a couple one-gallon jugs. You can order your own canvas bags here for, well, all the obvious reasons you would want a canvas bag.

    The supplier and the screen printing is fulfilled by a local non-profit Sanctuary Arts Center which strives to serve homeless youth by providing a safe, warm place during the day where the youth can experience success through art. Screen printing allows SAC to fund part of the program while also providing internship and basic job skill learning opportunities to youth that qualify. We proudly support them!

  • A Visit to Photographer Charity Burggraaf's Studio in the Bemis Building

    Any of the photography you see in the main areas of our website is produced by the wonderfully talented, Charity Burggraaf. You can see more of her work on her website. Last week we had the opportunity to visit her new studio in the Bemis building, which is fortunately very close to the chocolate shop.

    The Bemis building has a rich history. Built in 1904 the factory was originally used to create burlap bags to serve the nation’s industries. Construction was typical of the time, using heavy timber post and beams with a brick exterior. By 1915 the factory could no longer keep up with demand and expanded to 115,000 square feet of available space.

    Since then the factory has served many different needs. Derelict and broken for a while, it underwent a massive renovation in 1995 to become a  live & work artist facility. Today it has beautiful wood floors, dramatic hallways to hang large pieces of art, and massive windows providing north facing sunlight, which Charity claims to be her favorite kind of light for taking photos.

    Charity, knowing us, provided some wonderfully fancy cookies and a jar of specialty jam she picked up at a market in Ballard. It was delicious, of course. And we did leaver her with a few cookies left.

     

    We highly recommend attending an art show at the Bemis. It’s four floors full of wonderfully interesting work and you’ll feel like you’re getting a dose of Seattle historical culture, as well.

    Thanks again for having us out, Charity!

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