Grant funding has boosted production and distribution.
Chocolate fans can savour the flavours of Cornwall after a local producer received a BIG Productivity grant.
Josh Parker applied for a grant to scale up production of his chocolate bars, inspired by the Cornish landscape and lifestyle.
Josh’s Chocolate includes mouth-watering combinations, such as milk chocolate with Cornish Sea Salt & caramel, milk chocolate with blueberry & hazelnut and orange milk chocolate with roasted almonds.
He launched the business in 2019 under the name Parker Confectionery Ltd, operating out of a single shipping container on the Callestick Farm site. The wide range of chocolate options, including vegan, has proved popular with locals and visitors which lead to Josh realising he needed more space.
Online sales of the Cornish chocolate, which come in beautifully designed packaging, by St Ives-based illustrator Joanne Barry, began to take off and Josh applied to BIG Productivity for a grant.
The £13,485 grant he was awarded has been used to source and repurpose three more shipping containers to increase production and distribution of Josh’s Chocolate.
“It has hugely benefited the business,” said Josh, who took on most of the work needed to refurbish the container himself to save costs.
“The grant from BIG Productivity helped massively in terms of the capital investment needed to carry out the project which would have happened in a fairly piecemeal way over a longer period of time”
Each of the four shipping containers has a vital role in the production of Josh’s ‘melt and mould’ chocolate bars. Parker Confectionery now employs a team of five production staff to produce and distribute the full range of chocolate products including the firm’s popular gigantic chocolate buttons and hot chocolate stirring spoons.
Father-of-one Josh, who has another baby on the way with wife Alexa, said he was looking forward to expanding the distribution of his chocolate to customers and wholesalers, both nationally and internationally.
“It’s been a challenging time but I’m hopeful we can grow the online business and target the premium segment of the chocolate market,” said Josh, adding that he’s enjoyed watching his business develop. “I’ve grown up on a family farm and I’ve seen what my parents have achieved and the hard work needed to succeed. I wanted to do something on my own and I saw there was a gap in the market for Cornish chocolate,” he added, explaining where the idea for his chocolate company came from and how quickly it’s grown.
“The grant from BIG Productivity has increased the production facilities which has helped the business enormously.”
BIG Productivity is a £3.1m fund that offers grants from £2,500 up to £50,000 to qualifying small and medium-sized businesses in Cornwall to boost their productivity. BIG Productivity is supported by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Growth Programme and is delivered by Cornwall Council.