Shop’s sweet taste of success

Anne Ashforth (left) and Kate Shepherd of Cocoa
Anne Ashforth (left) and Kate Shepherd of Cocoa

Chocolate specialist Cocoa Wonderland enjoyed the sweet taste of success on Saturday as it celebrated its 10th anniversary.

The Ecclesall Road shop and café was set up in 2004 by Rachell Burton – and taken over by current owners Kate Shepherd and Anne Ashforth two years later.

The two, now 29, began working in the shop while studying at Hallam University and were only 21 at the time they took over but have developed the buisness, taking it to new heights.

Their first innovation was to introduce a café which now hosts everything from chocolate-tasting sessions to a knit club and book club.

The business has survived competition as well as the recession, but has continued to grow thanks to loyal customers. And as it grew, so did the staff – it now employs a team of five.

Anne says: “We’ve watched them all grow from shy teenagers to confident women and we’re so proud of them. Their support over the years has been incredible.”

Highlights for Anne and Kate have included a visit to the chocolate plantation in Grenada, meeting Chocolat author Joanne Harris, “and getting to eat as much chocolate as we want every day!”

And the business looks set for more success as the two have now begun producing their own Made in Cocoa range – and are looking for other Sheffield shops that might be interested in stocking the brand.

Saturday’s anniversary was celebrated in appropriate style with a party for customers.