The South Carolina-based specialty confectionery retailer created a variety of eclipse-themed products prior to the celestial sensation that stunned North America on Monday of this week.
Solar eclipse chocolate
“We ended up with two truffles, a renamed bonbon, a replica of the eclipse horizon in white and dark chocolate, a Twinkie half dipped in white and dark chocolate and a small eclipse sculpture,” CocoBon’s owner, David Saidat, said.
“The big winner for the day is our black berry eclipse truffle,” he added. “Today alone (August 21), we’ve sold at least 160… We sell truffles for $3 each and bonbons for $1.50”
“In totality, we met our entire Valentine’s week (sales) number,” Saidat said. “With the help of the eclipse week, we expect to see a 50% growth in our annual numbers this year.”
He also mentioned all the eclipse candies would be on sale throughout the month.
Revival of local business
Located in Anderson, South Carolina, a town that is not best known for its tourist attractions, Saidat said his decade-old chocolate business is “pretty small” with annual revenues just over $120,000.
However, CocoBon at one point sold chocolate in 22 states and exported to Canada. “The recession put an end to most of that as we watched our retailers fold one-by-one,” Saidat said. About two years ago, the company won a local economic incentive contest and slowly crawled back into the market with its specialty focus on vintage style confections.
“We depend on locals and area visitors who end up in town. When a once-in-a-lifetime event takes place like a total eclipse, we have to jump all over anything we can to make the sale,” Saidat said.
“Foot traffic has always been the mainstay of what I have to offer. Without foot traffic, my business tends to be weak. We have created a destination environment within our community. We posted signs showing what we offer… We took full advantage of social media and do that continually throughout the year,” he added.
“I'm not sure if my customers ate chocolates while watching the eclipse—we couldn't tell in the dark, but I know that being open and accessible throughout the weekend and event has made a huge difference in my business this week,” Saidat said.