It's a chocolate factory that's expanding, going from strength to strength and like any good chocolate factory, they measure their chocolate by the kilogram.
At least 100 kilograms of chocolate slabs can fit into the premelter at Waikato Valley Chocolate's new factory in Horotiu.
The massive slabs are melted at about 40 degrees before being moulded or used to make chocolate delectables.
General Manager, Jeff Andersen says it's great to be in a brand new facility.
"We've been able to design it exactly how we wanted it. We've come from a factory where we've been for twenty-three years and it was an old dairy factory that was near its time to move out of there. It certainly served its purpose," Mr Andersen says.
The new factory was needed to meet health and safety, and storage requirements.
"We've got storage space that we didn't have before. We're really set up now to be able to increase production if we need to, and to meet the ongoing demand for chocolate products in New Zealand," Mr Andersen says.
From small beginnings, the company now makes more than 3 and half million easter eggs each year. But that's not their only speciality.
"We are known for our scorched almonds, so that's a particular skill that a lot of our employees have. It is a quite a technical skill that takes quite a long time to learn," Mr Andersen says.
And most of the staff say they're not yet sick of eating chocolate, but they're often too busy to taste test every batch.
"When we run the easter line, it's very packed, very busy, and that's how the day goes fast," says Ching Dobson, who has worked at the factory for five years.
Waikato Valley Chocolates co-founder, Mike Razey, says his marketing background helped secure several contracts for the business.
"We got involved with Disney right from day one and various license companies so we would then develop products associated with those brands. Movies would come out and we would develop products, like for the first Batman movie.
"So those things led us into expanding the confectionary market, particularly in seasonal products where you could use licensed products to draw the consumer. So we had a great tasting product and combine that with very popular license and it was a winner," Mr Razey says.
And a business relationship with The Warehouse ensures Waikato Valley Chocolates remains competitive.
"It's very difficult to build a brand when you're a local manufacturer facing multinational companies, so you're really looking to make a great quality product, get the price right and the consumer purchases. And you're basically relying on repeat purchases," Mr Razey says.
And while some chocolate factories are closing down, Waikato Valley Chocolates is looking to increase domestic production, exports into Australia, and is closely looking at a new market in China.
"The plan for this new plant was well in place prior to Cadbury Mondelez deciding they were going to shut down the Dunedin operation. We see excellent growth in New Zealand, for New Zealand made chocolate," Mr Razey says.
The new factory officially opened on Thursday.
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