GRAND HAVEN, Mich. (WZZM) -- The owner of Chocolates by Grimaldi in Grand Haven wanted to make a product customers would buy, even during tough times. WZZM 13 also found out that anyone can get the unofficial title of taste tester.
It's Grand Haven's world of pure imagination, but no golden ticket is needed, just a smiling face. "Chocolate is a happy product," says Molli Laham, owner of Chocolates by Grimaldi.
WZZM 13 asked Laham if she ever feels like the fictional character, Willy Wonka. "Sometimes yes, sometimes Willy Wonka, sometimes Lucielle Ball," says Laham.
Laham started Chocolates by Grimaldi in 2012 and she calls it a recession proof business. "People will still have $5 to spend on chocolate, because it's going to make them feel good."
Now the company has 20 different varieties, including its signature chocolate covered potato chip. "They get coated with the chocolate through the chocolate waterfall," says Laham. We use a Michigan-made potato chip. When we sent them to another company in Florida that does the same thing, they were very impressed with the taste of our potato chips."
Everyday the chocolate factory has customers do a taste test. On Thursday, WZZM 13's Alex Shabad got to try the chocolate covered potato chip.
The company has six real employees, like chocolatier Sherry Blaine, who's originally from Tennessee. "We're trying to incorporate all Michigan made ingredients when we can, and I'm learning a lot about what's available in Michigan," says Blaine.
"We do our cherries from up in Traverse City, blueberries from local," says Laham.
Laham says the chocolate has no preservatives, artificial ingredients, or high fructose corn syrup. Even some dentists seem to be approving. "It's ironic I used to have a dental lab, now I have a chocolate shop, but a lot of my dentists are now my customers."
Chocolates by Grimaldi can be found at coffee shops and boutiques in Grand Rapids, Muskegon, Holland, and Whitehall. For more information, go to the company's website: www.chocolatesbygrimaldi.com.