HARLEM, Manhattan — You could say Jessica Spaulding and Asha Dixon are living the sweet life.
The long time friends are the force behind the Harlem Chocolate Factory, a business inspired by their love for chocolate and their community.
“Every chocolatier has their own spin and what is this spin? The only thing I know is Harlem,” said Spaulding.
Dixon says they use pieces of their culture.
“The integral pieces of the African-American culture and the Harlem experience and how that was going to play in it ,I was just sold I was like, ‘this is a really good idea’.”
At first they started small, working from their living rooms, but then in 2018 they opened their current shop on Adam Clayton Powell Junior Boulevard.
They’re the only chocolatiers serving handcrafted chocolate in the neighborhood.
“For the woman who doesn’t have the access or the little girl who doesn’t have the access, I think coming in here and seeing us is literally a change,” said Spaulding.
While their business has had a number of obstacles in the past few months, the pandemic itself has made them work smarter. They built out their e-commerce even greater allowed them to interact with people all over the nation at a much higher scale than before.
One of those people was Beyoncé, who awarded the entrepreneurs a grant to stay afloat.
That, along with their new outdoor seating — part of the Renaissance Pavilion at Strivers Row program which aims to keep diners warm during the winter months — is all helping the duo stay alive.
The Harlem Chocolate Factory is open Friday through Sunday for pick-up and delivery and open all week long on their website for online orders.