Cocoa Dolce Artisan Chocolates adds to ESPY swag bags

The Cocoa Dolce boxes that will go in ESPY gift bags have a special high-five wrap just for the sports awards.

The Cocoa Dolce boxes that will go in ESPY gift bags have a special high-five wrap just for the sports awards.

WICHITA – Beth Tully has had opportunities to include items from her Cocoa Dolce Artisan Chocolates in swag bags, such as for the Grammys and Emmys, but she would have had to pay for the privilege.

Tully, who owns the shop in Bradley Fair and the new one in the Prairiefire development in Overland Park, didn’t think it would be wise to spend thousands on the hopes that a few famous people might get to know and like her chocolates.

“I mean, it’s crazy,” she says of what it costs.

Now, though, Tully has been invited to include her products in some giveaways for ESPN’s ESPY awards.

“It was really serendipitous,” Tully says of an Internet search leading to her website.

She’s now donated gifts of chocolates and gift cards for 150 bags that will be given in conjunction with the awards. Other companies that have included gifts in the bags include Fitbit, TiVo and Foxwoods.

“This is the first time that we’ve done anything at that level,” Tully says of the number of bags.

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Cocoa Dolce Artisan Chocolates expands its production kitchen while fielding questions

WICHITA — Beth Tully of Cocoa Dolce Artisan Chocolates has more news this week along with some reassurance for customers.

First, the news.

Since opening her production kitchen at 3540 N. Comotara in 2008, Tully says she hasn’t had any neighbors next door. She decided to move into that 2,500 square feet, the bulk of which she did Monday.

“It is appalling actually to think all the stuff we moved next door used to be in this 2,500 square feet,” Tully says of her existing space.

The new space will be dedicated “to a couple of projects that we’ve always just done on the fly,” Tully says.

Shipping has been handled at Cocoa Dolce’s Bradley Fair store where there’s a mere 400 square feet of production area behind the retail portion of the store.

“It’s amazing we were able to do it that way for as long as we have,” Tully says.

As of Nov. 25, shipping will be done at the new space.

Tully also will use the additional space to help with her new Cocoa Dolce that’s opening in the Prairiefire development in Overland Park in 2014.

“That’s just in anticipation of everything that’s coming down the road next year,” Tully says.

She has paused to step back and admire the organization that the new space allows.

“Look how grown up this looks,” Tully says. “This is no fly-by-night deal anymore.”

Even though Tully is expanding, some customers are concerned she’s closing.

This week, she took down the Cocoa Dolce sign at the Bradley Fair store in anticipation of a new sign with her new brand.

“We have had people actually pull up in front of the store … and come in to find out whether we’re closing,” Tully says. “I’ve got this little group of people panicked. None of us dreamed taking the sign down would indicate to anyone that we were leaving.”

After the stucco is repaired and painted, the new sign will go up, most likely late this week or early next week.

“We are not closing,” Tully says. “We are not going anywhere.”

 

You don’t say

“A friend, a frenemy, a friend again, an amazing adviser and cheerleader.”

Beth Tully of Cocoa Dolce Artisan Chocolates on Beth King of King Merj Public Relations

Cocoa Dolce Artisan Chocolates unveils new logo, brand

WICHITA — She may be used to speaking in front of hundreds of people, but it was a visibly emotional, excited Beth Tully who addressed employees, friends and family Thursday afternoon to debut a new logo and brand for her Cocoa Dolce Artisan Chocolates.

Cocoa Dolce logo

Tully said it was the fact that it was those close to her instead of “the strangers you can imagine naked” that got to her.

“It’s been eight years in the coming,” Tully says of the rebranding. “We did some soul searching. . . . We really dug deep.”

She says the conclusion was that her current logo and brand don’t reflect the experience customers have in the store.

Her new logo “is something that’s joyful and happy.” Tully says that compares to more “stuffy” brands that fine chocolatiers — including herself — traditionally have.

“It is way more reflective of our style,” Tully says of the colorful, whimsical logo.

“This is going to be a transition,” she says.

That includes new taglines for the store to help during the changeover, such as, “Change never tasted so yummy.”

Parks Fortune and King Merj Public Relations helped make the change, and photographer Gavin Peters created new photographs to go with a reconstructed website.

Tully opened Cocoa Dolce in 2005 in Siena Plaza at 37th and Rock and moved to Bradley Fair in 2009. She has a second store planned for the Prairiefire development in Overland Park.

While the rebranding is a “fun, playful kind of thing,” Tully says it will do a lot for the store, too.

“We realized we had an opportunity,” she says. ”This takes us to . . . the next level.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beth Tully to open second Cocoa Dolce Artisan Chocolates in Overland Park

UPDATED — Beth Tully is taking her second step toward what she perhaps only half jokingly calls world domination.

The Cocoa Dolce Artisan Chocolates founder is opening her second store, this time in Overland Park’s Prairiefire development on West 135th Street between Nall and Lamar avenues.

“We’re going to think of Wichita as the hub and that this is the first spoke in the wheel,” Tully says.

Yes, that means she’s already thinking of other potential regional stores, though none is in the works yet.

“I think you only double the complexity of a business once, and this is it,” Tully says.

The idea, she says, is to create a template that can be reproduced.

“We’re basically going to do kind of a tweaked version of our lounge here,” Tully says of her Bradley Fair store.

Tully and her husband, Jay, opened their Wichita store in 2005 in Siena Plaza at 37th and Rock Road and then moved to Bradley Fair in 2009.

Tully says she has long thought about a second store.

“The honest truth is probably in our first year of business, way when I shouldn’t have been have been thinking of having a second location,” she says.

She knew that “as a really baby business” she couldn’t realistically do a second store then.

“We’re kind of a sophomore business now,” Tully says. “We’ve finally gotten over the hump.”

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Cocoa Dolce Artisan Chocolates expanding into its first nonchocolate line: macarons

Pastry chef Kelly Peterson prepares a pan of macarons for baking.

WICHITA — If Beth Tully’s Cocoa Dolce Artisan Chocolates was in Europe instead of Kansas, she likely would already be selling macarons.

Tully calls the French pastry a “classic European chocolatier product,” and she’s going to add it to her Bradley Fair store beginning Wednesday.

“I’m always trying to figure out what we can do in that space to make it more interesting,” Tully says.

It’s her first foray into a nonchocolate offering.

“They’re really different than most pastries,” Tully says.

She’s hired pastry chef Kelly Peterson, who used to have Velvet Cream Bakery, to help her create the macarons.

“I’m mainly the taster,” Tully says.

Peterson says macarons, which are pronounced with a long ‘o,’ have a silent “s” and are not to be confused with macaroons, are particularly tricky to make.

She says everything is mixed by hand, and a chef must be careful not to mix the meringue too long or hold the pastry bag at the wrong angle or the macarons don’t turn out correctly. The oven temperature and the amount of time the pastries sit before going into the oven must be exact as well.

Tully says she’s been seeing the pastries at specialty food shows for several years and been intrigued.

“I said, ‘Oh, my god, I’ll have to do these.’”

Then she heard how difficult they are to make.

“It’s like, ‘Bring it on, and let’s try it and see.’”

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Cocoa Dolce Artisan Chocolates forges new local relationships for ingredient sourcing

WICHITA – Beth Tully plans to hit a trifecta this year, and she’s already made good on her first bet.

The owner of Cocoa Dolce Artisan Chocolates has long wanted to forge more local relationships to source products and ingredients for her Bradley Fair store. She’s now accomplished that in a couple of ways.

The Kansas Department of Agriculture asked for her help with something and in return asked if she needed help with anything.

“I said, ‘Find me a … Kansas dairy that I can get fresh cream from.’”

The department suggested Hildebrand Farms Dairy, which is a family dairy farm near Junction City that Tully has enjoyed milk from in recent years.

“It had never dawned on me to even talk to them,” she says. “We buy their milk all the time because I love their glass bottles.”

Then she tried Hildebrand Farms’ cream, which she says “is unbelievable.”

“And it’s a great story,” Tully says. “It’s another cool Kansas business.”

She says she hopes to make the cream the exclusive cream she uses in her products.

“I felt really kind of dumb, honestly, that it had taken me that long to figure out they make something other than skim and whole milk. I never even connected on that,” she says. “The relationship has been great.”

When Tully lost her coffee roaster connection, she found Topeka’s PT’s Coffee Roasting Co.

“They are unbelievable,” she says. “Their coffee is amazing.”

She says there are more than 100 varieties, and the coffee bags contain guides with flavor profiles and information about what beans were used and when they were roasted.

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You don’t say

“Well, Susan Lucci, how does it feel?”

– What Jay Tully said Wednesday to his wife, Cocoa Dolce founder Beth Tully, after she lost the finals of the Wichita chamber’s Small Business Awards for the second time (she’s also been a finalist, but not a winner, for two national chamber awards)

You don’t say

“I wear loose clothing. I am not skinny.”

Beth Tully of Cocoa Dolce Artisan Chocolates on how she says thin while being around candy all day

You don’t say

“. . . let’s just say when these products come out next Monday, they’re guaranteed to make any self-respecting Shocker want to swallow their pride.”

WSU mascot WuShock in a teasing Facebook message about a new line of edible products related to the university (our guess is that alum Beth Tully of Cocoa Dolce Artisan Chocolates is creating chocolates in Wu’s likeness)