Dartford MP Gareth Johnson met one of Dartford’s leading chocolate makers at his growing business in Bluewater last week.
Chief Chocoholic Darren Litton, founded Cocoba, a chocolate shop and café around two-and-a-half years ago, with the simple motto ‘Eat. Drink. Love. Chocolate’.
Cocoba has over 130 products, over 40 of which, including its chocolate bars and hot chocolate spoons, are made behind the counter in store by the staff.
Darren, a former chartered accountant, is now looking to expand his popular business, which has its chocolate products also stocked in Selfridges, Harrods and a number of smaller independent stores.
Earlier this year Cocoba narrowly missed out on winning HSBC’s national Elevator Pitch competition, which was aimed at companies who pitched for £150,000 to help grow their businesses.
Darren pitched to open an industrial unit where Cocoba would be able to manufacture and pack all of its chocolate products. Cocoba reached the top 10 out of over 1,200 entries but just missed out on the £150,000 prize.
Despite this, Darren is moving forward with his idea and is planning to open an industrial space near Swanscombe within the next few months.
Mr Johnson said: “It is fantastic to see a local entrepreneur doing so well and I am delighted Cocoba will be expanding further.
The shop is so unique, but its simple ethos of all things chocolate is a brilliant idea and very pleasing to all chocolate lovers out there.
It was a pleasure to meet the chief chocoholic Darren and his staff but sampling the produce was undoubtedly the best part! The new premises will enable even more local people to work for the business which is great news for Dartford.”
At the moment the shop has a team of 15, mainly from the local area, but this number could grow as there are plans to open further shops and cafes in the near future.
Darren said: “Having the industrial unit will make life a lot easier.
It will enable us to have a place dedicated to the production and packing of all our retail chocolate products, for our own store and for our growing number of retail, corporate and online customers; while leaving the store free to do what it does best – create high quality, fresh and tasty food for Bluewater customers, and a place for them to sit and relax while taking a chocolate-fuelled break from their shopping.”