Where are they here are they now? small business LAST MARCH, The Connection featured five young entrepreneurs in our cover story. We were curious about how they were doing one year later and contacted them for an update. It seems that these young people are building businesses with staying power and learning a few things along the way. Congratulations to each. (To find last year’s story online, go to Costco.com, click on “Costco Connection Magazine” and then on “Back Issues.” Scroll to March 2010.)—Anita Thompson
Eric B. Heinbockel, Chocomize Sells customized chocolate bars (
www.chocomize.com) The feature in The Costco Connection really confirmed a theory that we had, which as become kind of our business hallmark: that a company with a unique concept and interesting back story can gain substantial exposure on a national scale through PR efforts rather than spending on advertising. We have been featured in The New York Times; Business Week; CNN.com; USA Today; and O, the Oprah Magazine, to name a fraction. We have spent less than $2,000 on advertising. Chocomize has been cash flow positive very month since March 2010, and we have grown significantly. We currently employ 10 production workers; sales for December 2010 were 20 times those of December 2009. This fall co-founders Fabian Kaempfer and Eric Heinbockel spoke to MBA students at Harvard Business School and Rutgers Business School about our experience. Last month we were awarded our SBA region’s Small Business of the Year award.
24 ;e Costco Connection MARCH 2011
We have learned a great deal about start- ing a business and continue to learn every day. We look forward to continuing to grow our core business (online custom bar sales) in the United States, but we also look forward to expanding into retail outlets, expanding geo- graphically (this summer we began shipping to Canada) and expanding our product line perhaps beyond just chocolate bars.
Stefanie Smith, Launch into Boston
Helps young professionals get situated in the
Boston area (
Since the article was published, Launch
into Boston has gained twice the number of clients from across the country. This was
really the boost we needed.
Before the article, we were finding many
clients we’d come across were already settled
in the city and [told us], “I could have really
used you when I was moving.” The Costco
Connection moved us in a different direction
[so that] we captured our clients’ attention
before they started their journey.
Many clients called me months after the
From left, Nick LaCava, Fabian Kaempfer
and Eric Heinbockel, Chocomize