VSFA Member Spotlight - Jan. 2020
Lake Champlain Chocolates - VSFA Member Spotlight
A nationally recognized Vermont specialty food company, Lake Champlain Chocolates has been in the business for over 35 years. In 1983 Jim Lampman founded the company, just like many Vermont specialty food producers, with an idea to produce the finest product with only fresh, natural ingredients. Eric Lampman and Ellen Lampman Reed, second-generation owners, say the, “mission remains the same: to make chocolate lovers everywhere as fanatical about Lake Champlain Chocolates as we are. Creating irresistible chocolate, though, takes devotion to flavor, quality, craftsmanship, and the experience.” Lake Champlain Chocolate is proud to use their business as a force for good. Whether it’s sourcing only Fair-Trade chocolate, organic, non-GMO, and local Vermont ingredients or contributing to Vermont’s economic viability with more than 140 employees. Lake Champlain Chocolates is committed to supporting their local and global communities.
Allyson Myers, LCC’s Director of Sales and Marketing, has been with the company since 1993. Myers reflects that Lake Champlain Chocolates was already 10 years old, and the specialty food market was still in its infancy. Myers remarks that the industry has grown over the past 25 years and, “it’s been incredibly rewarding to develop and grow relationships with leading retailers across the US.” She emphasizes that their team works hard to be in stores and that they still feel satisfaction when friends send photos of their products on shelves across the country.
A business with 35 years under its belt faces the same challenges many specialty food businesses do. For Lake Champlain Chocolates battling warm temperatures year-round is a continuous challenge when selling a perishable product nationally. New challenges also arise within the highly promotional, competitive, and widespread retail marketplace of specialty foods. When it comes to advise for business owners, Myers recommends thinking, “with the long term in mind – balance your top line growth with the bottom line,” and, “build customer relationships that offer win-win results in the long run.” Building a brand is not easy, that’s why, “slow & steady wins the race.”
Lake Champlain Chocolates joined the VSFA because they love sharing and learning from others. Myers says, “While we’re flattered that many think of us as an iconic Vermont brand, we’re a smaller company than you might think. Members of our team benefit from the networking opportunities VSFA offers.” Myers says that there is great value in networking with those with a shared passion for specialty food because, “if you have a question, another member often is facing the same challenge. There is always someone who can offer a suggestion, idea, or collaborate on how to solve your problem.”
For more information on Lake Champlain Chocolates, visit their website at www.lakechamplainchocolates.com