Pete Steffy got into chocolate-making as a hobby while living in the small city of San Cristobal de la Casas in Mexico, where he was teaching English. He enjoyed it so much that he began making chocolate for fun and playing with different recipes that he would give away to friends and family. Eventually a real demand grew, and
Pete's Chocolate Company
, Detroit's first small-batch artisan chocolate company, started selling at area markets and special events.
Since 2011, Pete's Chocolate Company has grown from a hobby into a legitimate business with its own employees. He is currently hiring the position of Production Manager to help him meet his production goals and help with expansion plans. He also recently filled the position of Production Assistant to help him with the chocolate making, especially during this busy holiday season.
He has also outgrown his Hamtramck kitchen, which was the original home base of his chocolate operations, and now works out of the commercial kitchen at the Max M. Fisher Music Center
(also used by Detroit food startup Beau Bien Fine Foods). Up until he started making chocolate out of the kitchen at The Max, Steffy was still producing under Michigan's cottage food laws. Now he is able to wholesale to stores. Currently he is focused entirely on the holiday season, but afterwards he plans on growing his wholesale operation (with the help of his Production Manager) in order to make Pete's Chocolate Company a steady year-round business. "It's been great that I've been doing this the last two years," he says. "The chocolate business is slow in the summer and insane in the winter. It would be nice to get it a little more steady."
While Whole Foods and Holiday Market might be in his future, for now you can find Pete and his chocolates weekends at the Rust Belt Market through December as well as at Noel Night
this Saturday, the Detroit Holiday Food Bazaar
next Friday, and the Merry Market at Detroit Mercantile Co.
next Saturday and Sunday.
Source: Pete Steffy, owner of Pete's Chocolate Company
Writer: Nicole Rupersburg