Bahamian chocolatier hopes to build on chocolate bar launch

Bahamian chocolatier hopes to build on chocolate bar launch
A variety of Bootleg Chocolates offerings. (PHOTO: BOOTLEG CHOCOLATES)

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — A Freeport-based chocolate manufacturer is hoping to build on the momentum from the launch of its line of chocolate bars to further tap into the local retail market.

Port Lucaya-based Bootleg Chocolates, whose name is a nod to the prohibition era, is run by Amanda Ormerod and her mother Daphne, the master chocolatier. The company has been in existence since 2010.

Amanda Ormerod told Eyewitness News that as a small business having been impacted by Hurricane Dorian and now the COVID-19 pandemic, she and her mother had to strategize on ways to keep the business afloat and ultimately rebound.

“With COVID coming and the country going into lockdown at the end of March, we had to strategize on the next move for the business. We do a lot of hotel business. Even though we have our factory in Freeport and have the walk-in shop, a large volume of our business is from the hotels. I do the pillow chocolates for Rosewood. They order about 7,000 of them [each] month. I also do amenities for the Hyatt, The Island House and Ocean Club. Without that line of business, we had to look at a few different ideas of how we would come out of this COVID-19 pandemic and we decided to create our own chocolate bar,” said Ormerod.

Ormerod told Eyewitness News that she and her mother worked extremely hard to get their chocolate bar to the right price point to be able to go head-to-head with well-known brands such as Cadbury.

“We wanted to make it accessible for all Bahamians. My mom and I worked really hard over the last few years to get it to the right price point. The chocolate quality we use is gourmet chocolate and I wanted it to be priced close to Cadbury, to make it a no-brainer for people to buy local and choose Bootleg Chocolates. Retailers will add their mark up but the bars should retail for $4.90 to $5.90 on the high end. Hopefully, if these get popular I can make the smaller ones in the future,” said Ormerod.

The company offers a 90-gram bar in creamy milk chocolate, Bahamian sea salt, toffee, peanut crunch and midnight almond crunch. The company is also offering chocolate-filled gift boxes for the holidays.

“We’re happy to be back up and running. We penny-pinched to get to November. My mom had to put some of her own money into the business,” said Ormerod.

“It was literally December 1 [that] we started making money again. From October 1 of 2019 to October 1 of this year, we were technically open for four months and have been surviving off the money we made during that time.”

On New Providence, Bootleg Chocolates can be found at at least three Lowe’s Pharmacy locations, The Island House and Young’s Fine Wines.