Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate, a St. Louis, MO-based Candy merchant, has revived the Mavrakos brand after a 25-year hiatus. It relaunched Mavrakos on Oct. 21 in all eight Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate stores, as well as a high-end 23-store grocery chain called Dierbergs and the Websites Mavrakos.com, Chocolate.com and Amazon.com.
Founded in 1913, Mavrakos had grown to 17 stores, a manufacturing facility, catalog and wholesale accounts when Archibald Candy bought it in 1984 and retired the brand. The secret Mavrakos family recipes, however, were passed along to Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate owner Dan Abel. The Abel family decided it was time to bring it back.
Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate initially spent about $100,000 to $125,000 to get Mavrakos up and running. Abel’s children – Dan Abel Jr. and Christina Abel (both company vice presidents)– will manage Mavrakos.
Orders for both chocolate brands are manufactured and fulfilled out of Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate’s St. Louis facility, says Dan Abel Jr. The merchant’s 1,000-sq-ft. distribution center is getting a little crowded, though: It also fulfills for SwingTheMojo.com, another family business selling tools to help people improve their golf swing.
The company is working on acquiring a larger warehouse, says Abel Jr. For now, “We have our main Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate company warehouse with a new shipping system connected to UPS Worldship that has three printers: one for UPS labels, one for gift messages and one for invoices.”
Typically, three people work on fulfillment from 12:45-3:15 every day, Abel Jr. says. One person will pick the orders from the various Websites, and two people fulfill those orders.
“We have seven different corrugated boxes – two for Mavrakos, four for Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate and one for SwingTheMojo,” he says. “On a Monday, for example, it’s very hard to walk through that warehouse without knocking over a box.”
Mojo uses a separate UPS Account number, “so there are many logistics involved in pulling the orders,” Abel Jr. adds. As is typical for most food merchants, fulfillment is seasonal: A slow day in the summer could be 50 orders while a big day during the holiday season could mean 500 orders.
While the operation is more hectic, the chocolates merchant is happy with Mavrakos. It does not release sales, but the Mavrakos launch “has well exceeded expectations,” Abel Jr. says. For example, he says, the company budgeted for six months of packaging for Mavrakos; all packaging had to be re-ordered in less than two months.
The company has no current plans for a Mavrakos print catalog, Abel Jr. says. “We do plan to assemble a flyer for an insert for mail order and Web orders, but we haven’t decided on a catalog,” he says. “But Mavrakos was a big cataloger back in the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s, so it is a possibility.”