Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Waist not, Want not (ode to Chocolate!)

My taste in chocolate went from white and milk in childhood to darker and darker chocolates. With the one exception of some stale 70% cocoa concoction my roommate gave me, I can go up to a 90% bar and be quite happy. I keep a bag of Ghiardelli double chocolate chips in the house to dip into for a quick fix, or for a rare batch of cookies or pancakes. Organic, free trade, Swiss, German, it doesn't make much of a difference to me -- just give me my chocolate, and no one gets hurt!

Except that those are made in a factory. The best chocolate to give, receive or eat is chocolates made with love.

Fran Greenfield (aka "Candy Fran") of Candy Designs by Fran is sought-after and well received in both Orange and Sullivan counties, and most definitely makes her chocolates with love. Hand-made, melted, dipped, coated, drizzled, packaged, and often hand-delivered, Candy Fran makes the most exquisite treats you could ever eat. People who have given her corporate gift baskets always come back to give them again and again. Last fall, all my top clients got a treat created by Fran and I got thank-you emails including one with the subject line of "MMmmmmm chocolate!"

One was undeliverable, and so I ate it (can I still deduct it from my taxes? I tried!!). Clients shouldn't move without informing their vendors *tsk*.

Fran's treats are available retail and wholesale, and she'll ship them to you or your clients. If you buy your candy from other online vendors, you might just be getting Fran's chocolates under a different name...I just hope for everyone's sake they still have a healthy dose of Vitamin-L (love), because if that's lost in translation you ought to order straight from the source.

"My name is Fran, and I'm a chocoholic...." (Fran Greenfield, Orange Networking Alliance, Feb 20, 2007)

A year ago, I joined the Orange County Chamber of Commerce, and I went to my first business networking blast last July. I didn't have the networking thing down yet, so I was sitting and crowd-watching, and saw this woman with an enormous basket of little bags. It was a "speed networking" event, and I wasn't in her row, so I didn't have the pleasure of being directly gifted with a sample. When the event was over, she announced that she had plenty left, and put them on a table on the side of the room. I still didn't "get it" and continued networking as much as I could stand to before fleeing. The event had started at 6:45am, so I beg both ignorance and exhaustion as my lame excuses.

In September there was going to be an Expo, and I considered sharing a booth at the Expo with another business. I had been taken under wing by Melanie Richards of Prism Promotions who showed me the ropes and gave me several really good lessons about networking in Orange County, NY. It was due to Melanie that I spoke to the Chamber about sharing a table, and Fran was recommended as a booth partner. I spoke to Fran about possibly sharing a booth with her, but as enticing as sharing a booth with the highly-sought-after Chocolate Lady was, I bowed out due to financial frustrations and a lack of preparation time. It was my first year in the Chamber, and I'm the type who learns (A LOT!) by watching. I volunteered to help at the event rather than take a booth. So I finally met Fran at the member dinner mixer after the event. She was bubbly, lively, friendly and forthcoming, if a little frazzled, but who isn't frazzled at the end of a long day at an expo?

I had been checking out local networking/referral groups, and because several people I had met and really liked at the Chamber were members of Business Exchange Network, I ended up joining that group. Fran is one of the members, and since I now get to see her almost every week, I'm a little more out-of-shape, a lot more chocolified, and I've gotten to know this wonderful woman much better than I would have otherwise. She is quirky, but bright and cheery, and I admire her. She's modest and exceptionally generous, and she actually has two jobs -- Candy Fran by night and child photographer by day. I can only imagine she gets the biggest and brightest smiles out of children, without needing to bribe them with chocolate, because she gets smiles out of adults without the chocolate as well, though I suppose the chocolate anticipation really helps.

If you're looking for a treat for a holiday, a gift to say Thank You to a client, something to bring for an extra "Ah" or "Oh" at a networking event, an unforgettable chocolate business card, or to put on a few pounds in absolute ecstasy, talk to Fran. If you don't believe me, come to some of the events where Fran often shares her treats by bringing samples. Or I'll send you a chocolate business card made by Fran, I have a few left...

This post is a whole lot of thank you for someone who touched my heart as well as my taste buds!

[tags]clients,Chamber,candy,creative,expenses,gratitude,holiday,humor,information,inspiration,life,local business,networking[/tags]


  1. How good are Fran's chocolates? So good that I won a raffle where I could have pocketed $40 for first prize and instaed I traded with the second place winner for his prize. What did he win? Fran's chocolate covered strawberries!!!!! Worth every penny! Love you Fran

  2. I saw the Business Card in white chocolate that Fran had created for Melanie Richards, my good friend from Prisms Promotions. It was terrific, but I must admit that I don't like white chocolate much. I have to agree with the Ecletic Tech in that chocolate is really meant to be dark and the darker the better, but I think that may well be a sign of a true chocoholic and I must admit to that.

    SO I wanted a chocolate business card too, but I wanted milk chocolate or (drum roll please) DARK chocolate!!

    I have a terrific logo and I really thought it would look great as a Fran Business Card. Fran up to this point had not been successful at creating a business card in milk or dark chocolate.

    I asked her to give it a shot for me and well THE REST IS HISTORY!!! I have the best Fran Business Card in two kinds of chocolate, milk and dark now. I am so happy with my new business card I may have a problem sharing them....okay they are really to give to clients, but I LOVE THESE CARDS!!!

    I left an exuberant message on Fran's machine when I saw the first one she made for me and she told me she saved the message for her down days to remind herself how much she pleases her clients.

    This woman has a gift in creating chocolates and I am thrilled to have decided to ask her to give it a try for me.

    She is a terrific chocolatier and a truly terrific person too.

    Anyone who sends their candy business to Fran will not be disappointed.

    Thanks for listening. Great idea here, Criss.

  3. I was grateful to met Fran at a chamber networking blast in 11/05. Without tasting Fran's confections, I placed an order with Fran because a woman that sweet & giving could only make exceptional chocolates.

    Fran rewarded our trust & delivered a rush order two days early!
    We had planned to place the order we gave Fran with another company. Our clients loved their 2005 chocolate gifts. We were so pleased we ordered Fran's great holiday baskets for new clients who loved them too.

    One of our clients loved Fran's chocolates so much that she is introducing Fran to her colleagues who handle banquets & special events. As a thank you, Fran gave us a great basket & I finally had a chance to taste her hand made delicious chocolates.

    It's time for all of us to check with Fran for what goodies she has in store for us in 2007. Sharp prices - great service - fast delivery - delicious & guaranteed to give our clients or guests great delight. What more can you ask for? Meet Fran & have a delicious day - just like her voice mail promises.