Nailsea gets a Willy Wonka chocolate factory

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By Carol_Deacon | Monday, January 07, 2013, 14:25

A HUSBAND and wife team have become the Willy Wonkas of North Somerset and set up the district's first chocolate factory.

Ian and Ruth Yard, who used to run Brockley Fruit Stall, have taken over the former MS Therapy Centre unit at Southfield Road trading estate and turned it into a chocolate making factory.

The couple have spent £250,000 on refurbishing and fitting out the unit with state of the art equipment which will be used to make thousands of Ooh! Chocolata chocolate bars a year.

And their chocolate bars, which range from white chocolate with cranberry to dark chocolate with ginger, are already proving a hit, with 11 stores across the area stocking them.

The couple are currently responsible for the day to day running of the factory, from making the chocolate, to marketing it and selling it.

But they are now planning to recruit more chocolate makers to work alongside them in a bid to grow the business further.

The couple, who trained as chocolatiers, currently sell 10 different types of chocolate.

Mum of one Ruth, 42, a florist, said: "My husband used to run the Brockley Fruit Stall but sold it in August 2011.

"After years of making and selling food at our farm shop we were ready for a new direction and a challenge.

"We were not short of ideas, but kept coming back to chocolate.

"Ian had always fancied running a chocolate factory so went on various training courses.

"We have also visited other chocolate factories across the country to learn as much as we can about the business.

"I have always had a sweet tooth and it's great to be able to produce our own chocolate.

"We have already been referred to as the Willy Wonkas of North Somerset.

"The chocolate is selling really well and is proving really popular."

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