by IBEX Staff
Constance Menzies is the owner of Chocolatier Constance Popp!, a four-year-old shop that has already created a lot of buzz in a big way. On days where the sun is pouring through the windows of the cozy shop on Portage Avenue, Constance is in nonstop motion, moving displays of chocolates in danger of a slow melt from the winter sunlight in between a steady flow of customers.
“When I first started out, my customers were mostly just my circle of family and friends,” explains Constance. “Four years later, I can say with confidence that people know about us now.”
Chocolatier Constance Popp! is not only in business to be delicious, but there is also a strong environmental ethic that rests within the very floorboards of her shop.
“The floor your standing on? It’s made with re-claimed lumber from a landfill. Our chocolate is made with whole food ingredients, and is packaged in compostable boxes that were made in Manitoba. Every piece of chocolate or baking was made right here in this kitchen.”
With a dedication to being socially and environmentally responsible and creating chocolate from pure whole foods, it is no wonder why word-of-mouth proved to be a powerful tool when the business first started.
“When I first opened the shop in Winnipeg, I had so many people come to me and ask me to speak at conferences and other events. I guess this was because I opened during the time of the recession and I was a female business owner and all that. You would think a woman opening her own business wouldn’t be so fascinating in this day and age, but people really wanted to talk to me about the shop, so I got out there.”
Although humble, Constance really is a wonder-woman in her own right. She runs almost every aspect of her shop down to the very last detail, from creating every piece of whole food chocolate ingredient by ingredient, to packaging her chocolate creations in attractive boxes, ordering supplies, placing displays, working the books, managing her staff, hiring new team members, and implementing the shop’s marketing initiatives all while catering to the needs of her customers.
“That’s why I love IBEX so much,” Constance explains in between breaths. “They’re so reliable, I don’t even have to think about my payroll. I just send Susan an e-mail and voila! Somehow people get paid.”
The hard work has certainly paid off. The four years that Chocolatier Constance Popp! has been in business, Constance and her team have sent their chocolate to events such as the 2010 Golden Globe Awards in L.A, the Oscars, the 2010 Olympics, and more recently, the Royal visit, just to name a few. While celebs and other big names have sampled her chocolate (Constance is able to drop names left right and centre), there is a wall in her kitchen dedicated to letters from the city and other local organizations commending her work. From Blue Bomber cookies to special chocolate bars embelished with the logo of the new Canadian Museum of Human Rights opening next year in Winnipeg, Constance explains that having her own kitchen has enabled her to make unique quality creations for a number of different clients.
“You would think that the only busy time for us would be around the holidays, but we’re really busy all year round. There’s always a conference or special event happening that we are asked to be a part of. Chocolate is such a great gift that is affordable for people to give. Here, we are able to personalize it and really work around different allergies most of the time.”
You have not had real chocolate until you’ve tried a delectable creation from Chocolatier Constance Popp!.