IN: Artisanal Vegan Chocolate Company Expanding Production, to Hire 71
6 Dec, 2019
SoChatti, an Indianapolis-based producer and distributor of artisanal vegan chocolate, announced the opening of its new production and R&D facility in central Indiana. To support increased demand for its products, the company plans to significantly scale up its workforce over the next few years.
"One of our top priorities as a state is cultivating an environment for entrepreneurs to thrive," said Indiana Secretary of Commerce Jim Schellinger. "We're excited to celebrate the next step forward for SoChatti as it expands production and R&D in central Indiana, increasing its capacity, creating new product lines and adding quality jobs for Hoosiers."
The company is investing more than $2.4 million to expand its operations in central Indiana after outgrowing its former 240-square-foot facility. To support its growth, SoChatti is leasing, renovating and equipping a 12,870-square-foot food production and research center at 1125 Brookside Ave. in Indianapolis' Circle City Center Industrial Complex. The new facility will allow the company to install new laboratory and production equipment, and expand R&D for its products, packaging and cooking methods.
SoChatti contributes to a growing entrepreneurial ecosystem in Indiana that supports more than 512,000 small businesses in the state that together employ over 1.2 million Hoosiers. The company, which has four full-time employees, plans to create up to 71 new jobs by the end of 2023, with positions in chocolate production, supply chain management, research and sales. Interested applicants may apply to firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Indianapolis has been an ideal home base for our growing food startup, SoChatti,” says founder and CEO Matt Rubin. “From research and recruiting partnerships with local universities like Butler, to the support we’ve received from the city and state, to the excitement we’ve seen from local consumers who have fully embraced this exciting new chocolate product. We’re thrilled to have our roots in Indianapolis and to have the chance to grow our company here in 2020 and beyond.”
SoChatti was founded as Trade Secret Chocolates, LLC in 2013 by Rubin, who initially created the product for his wife who had been diagnosed with a dairy allergy. After much experimentation, Rubin became convinced that the next wave of chocolate consumption is in melted form. Renowned chocolatiers have long stated that the best way to really taste chocolate is when it is melted and SoChatti delivers luxurious melted single-origin, craft chocolate via its innovative warming methods that capture and preserve the best flavors of chocolate.
SoChatti provides a complex flavor that has not yet been available in the market. The company's 72% dark chocolate is made and packaged to protect the delicate flavors of the cacao bean and deliver that flavor to the end consumer in melted form. SoChatti made with beans from Peru or Tanzania will taste vastly different than SoChatti made with beans from Ecuador or Trinidad. The company purchases top-quality ingredients at three to four times above industry-standard prices to help support a sustainable supply chain, reasonable wages and a growing economy in cacao-rich regions around the world.
SoChatti is available in specialty stores and shops across Indiana including Needler’s Fresh Market, Goose the Market and Best Chocolates in Town, as well as online on Amazon. The company recently kicked off a partnership with Williams Sonoma in the form of a local pop-up over four weekends in November and December with Williams Sonoma’s Indianapolis brick-and-mortar to launch their newest product, the SoChatti Warmer, a small, sleek, countertop appliance designed to keep up to two packages of SoChatti melted and “On Tap” for easy access.
“Indianapolis is the ideal location to turn ideas into reality, test a diverse customer base, and efficiently introduce products to market,” said Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett. “I am so happy that SoChatti is producing its vegan delicacy here and doubling down on growth and innovation. I look forward to their continued success in the Circle City.”
Rubin collaborated with Rose-Hulman Ventures, a product design, rapid prototyping and development firm led by Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, for assistance in creating the innovative packaging design. Rose-Hulman Ventures is a unique model for university and industry interaction, connecting companies and entrepreneurs with full-time engineering staff and student interns to assist with bringing engineering design ideas to reality.
The Indiana Economic Development Corporation offered Trade Secret Chocolates (dba SoChatti) up to $500,000 in conditional tax credits based on the company’s job creation plans. These tax credits are performance-based, meaning the company is eligible to claim incentives once Hoosiers are hired. The city of Indianapolis will consider additional incentives at the request of Develop Indy.
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