V.I.A.’s Home Grown features only the most awesome companies in Vancouver. From tiny, single-person operations to the big players, we profile our favourite businesses and interview their owners.
Purdy’s Chocolates is one of the oldest and most awesome businesses in all of Vancouver. Founded in 1907 by Richard Carmon Purdy who opened his first chocolate shop on Robson Street, over the past 102 years this company has become, and has remained, a true icon of chocolate in Canada. Their chocolates are made using only the finest ingredients from around the world and the company was voted by its employees as one of Canada’s 50 Best Employers in 2002, 2004, 2008, and 2009. A Canadian owned and family operated business, Purdy’s is the largest chocolate retailer in Western Canada and the second largest in Canada, with 57 stores in British Columbia, Alberta, and Ontario. Their chocolates are ridiculously tasty and I would be surprised if you told me that you’ve never enjoyed them.
We caught up with the president of Purdy’s, Karen Flavelle, for a few questions…
If Purdy’s is known for only one thing amongst it’s customers, what would it be?
Purdy’s is known for… chocolates that are so good “it is like there is a party in your mouth”. A customer said this to me one day… I knew exactly what they meant and I loved the way they said it. Everyone has their own favourites – so I wouldn’t dare generalize about what people like. My favourites are Sweet Georgia Browns, Hedgehogs, Himalayan Pink Salt Caramels, and almond clusters
Aside from your own, what’s your favourite Vancouver business, and why?
I really enjoy the Cactus Club, Joey’s and Earl’s restaurants. The service in all of them is so good – every time, the atmosphere is great, and the food is great. It makes me proud to see such home grown talent.
What’s in store for Purdy’s in the future?
Purdy’s is aiming to win the hearts and minds of Ontario people – to be as much a part of traditions there as Purdy’s is here. We have a terrific team that is working hard to please customers there. We would like to replicate Purdy’s 100 year history in BC….in Ontario.
What keeps you here? Like what’s the best thing about Vancouver?
I love the moderate climate of Vancouver; the beauty: the lush greenness, the ocean. Having lived in Kingston and Toronto in Ontario, I appreciate the weather we get to enjoy. When it rains, I think of what my mother says “it’s snowing in the mountains!!” ….as we all love skiing. Of course, Purdy’s and my family also keep me in Vancouver – it was being involved with Purdy’s that brought me back to Vancouver.