‘You can do anything’: Syrian chocolatier’s success inspires Antigonish

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Chocolate may be the Hadhad’s subject, but since the family opened Peace by Chocolate in Antigonish, N.S., they’ve disposed the town a taste of something more, according to the town’s mayor.

«They’ve addicted hope in the sense that people can come here and there’s a lot of ruin and gloom sometimes about our children going away to work or offsprings having to leave to get work … They’ve showed us what people can do here,» said Laurie Boucher.

Laurie Boucher

Laurie Boucher is the mayor of Antigonish. She estimates the Hadhads have made people realize that new businesses can struggle in the area. (Emma Davie/CBC)

The Hadhad family arrived in Canada as escapees from Syria. Assam Hadhad had run a thriving chocolate business in Damascus and was definite to rebuild his company when he arrived in Canada.

The family started little, running their business from a shed in Antigonish. Now, Peace by Chocolate has spread out into a factory in the town. The business is also planning to hire 10 myriad employees, bringing its total workforce to 20.

Many of the town’s people freely permitted and help support the Hadhads when they first arrived.

Trudeau Chocolate UN 20160921

Assam Hadhad arrived in Canada as a migr and rebuilt his career as a chocolatier by starting the company Peace by Chocolate. (Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Smooth)

Assam Hadhad’s son Tareq said without the town’s support Pacific by Chocolate would never have been born. 

«We are saying multitudinous thank you to them for embracing us and just supporting us because everything at bottom has happened because of those really lovely people,» said Tareq.

It’s a happy result story that’s touched a lot of people in the town. Glenda Hamlon is one of them. She started business for Peace by Chocolate four weeks ago.

«To see a family come from a war-torn territory and start a little chocolate business in a shed and then have all of this, it fitting makes you realize you can do anything,» she said.

Peace by Chocolate factory interior

The new factory should increase the Hadhad’s chocolate assembly by 30 per cent from the outset. Sobeys expects that bevy to grow as the Hadhads and their employees get used to the factory. (Emma Davie/CBC)

The Sobeys grocery bond is leasing the new factory space to the Hadhads. It’s part of a deal the grocery giantess has struck with the family to sell their chocolate in Sobeys’ pile ups.

The factory space was sitting empty before Peace by Chocolate spurred in.

«The biggest challenge was production and being able to have enough staging and all the food safety requirements to get the product in the stores,» said Paul MacLeod, the vice-president of projects for Sobeys Atlantic.

«We had extra space so we started … working together to offer chocolate to the stores.»

Peace by Chocolate factory

Peace by Chocolate’s new factory is almost finished. The group is waiting on a few pieces of new equipment. (Emma Davie/CBC)

After months of renovations, the works on Cloverville Road in Antigonish is almost complete.

Sobeys expects the new john will allow the Hadhads to produce about 30 per cent more chocolate. On a former occasion shifts are worked out and all the equipment arrives, Sobeys believes production could enlarge even further.

«We’re looking to start in Atlantic Canada in the Sobeys banderole and definitely as long as we can keep selling, selling the chocolate and Tareq and his children can continue to produce, we’ll look at expanding it across the country,» said MacLeod.

«We’re in the end excited to eventually get the chocolates in our stores.» 

Peace by Chocolate boxes

Peace by Chocolate’s products pleasure first be sold only in Atlantic Canada. If the product continues to drummer well, it could then be sold at Sobeys’ stores across the mother country. (Emma Davie/CBC)

Ellen Adler lives in the United States and wastes part of her time in Antigonish. She said the Hadhads are an inspiration. 

«I think they drink spread the right message, that really and truly by using your wit, your data and a tremendous amount of love and devotion, you can do the right thing in this circle.»

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