Life is sweet at The Chocolate Boutique where Kesha Dozier spends her days making chocolate, filling orders and preparing for special events and parties.
Dozier, a Wake County mom of three, has two locations - north Raleigh and Morrisville - where she sells gourmet chocolates and also hosts all kinds of gatherings. At the shops, Dozier sells wine and beer, offering tips on pairing beverages with different chocolates. The Chocolate Boutique's locations also are popular stops for date nights, girls' nights out and birthday parties.
"I do believe this is one thing I wouldn't ever get tired of," Dozier told me earlier this year when I featured her shop. "The possibilities of flavor combinations are endless."
The Chocolate Boutique is among a dozen businesses featured in this year's Go Ask Mom Made by Mom Gift Guide, presented by Midwifery at Women's Health Alliance. I met Dozier earlier this year and recently had the chance to catch up with her.
After a career in forensics and the corporate world, Dozier made the switch to chocolate. The Raleigh shop at Lafayette Village opened about five years ago. The Morrisville shop at Park West Village opened soon after. Dozier traveled to Europe to learn more about chocolate and how it's sold at high-end boutiques there.
Business is great, Dozier tells me. She's started a chocolate club, where customers pick up a new chocolate every month (a perfect gift for the chocolate lovers in your life!). Corporate sales are up. And she's seeing more couples walk in for date nights. For $99, two people get a lesson on making chocolate; wine and strawberries; and a half pound of chocolate to take home.
Dozier has worked to expand her shops' offerings. She now has a line of hot chocolates, including Belgian white hot chocolate, Mexican spice hot chocolate and a dark chocolate hot chocolate. She's also expanded her line of chocolate wines and dessert wines. Customers come and often enjoy a bottle of wine and a platter of truffles. The Morrisville location includes an outdoor patio where they can sit.
Dozier also is working with local groups, including school PTAs, on fundraisers. Instead of dinner at a fast food restaurant or an evening at the skating rink, school supporters can head to her shops for some chocolate. She gives 10 percent of the proceeds from the evenings back to the organization.
Life is busy for Dozier, who has a child in college in West Virginia and an 8 and 11-year-old at home.
"It’s definitely fun," Dozier tells me. "Chocolate is definitely my therapy."