Dunedin a step closer to a new chocolate factory
Dunedin-based chocolate company OCHO is one step closer to opening a new chocolate factory in the city with a signing of a lease on a Steamer Basin building. The site at Roberts Street has enough room for chocolate production, a chocolate factory tour and a cafe. The lease is conditional to obtaining planning approval from the Dunedin City Council.
OCHO is championing a new people-led model of regional development, with around 3500 shareholders from around the country purchasing $2,000,000 in shares in November 2017. This shareholder funding is enabling OCHO to expand its production and create new jobs in Dunedin.
This community-driven initiative began as a response to Mondelez announcing it planned to close Dunedin’s Cadbury factory. Initially Jim O’Malley and a team of volunteers aimed to purchase the Cadbury factory to keep confectionery production in the city. However, ‘Own the Factory’ strategy evolved to premium chocolate-making, joining forces with independently owned OCHO.
OCHO founder and now General Manager, Liz Rowe says confirmation of a building is great news. “We had been focused on finding premises in the Steamer Basin area as we think it’s ideal for the tourism venture we are planning. This building is light and spacious plus it has a heritage component which will be perfect for the business we are developing.
“We’re excited to be able to move to the next phase and start planning the building development. An order for new chocolate production equipment has been placed with an Italian manufacturer and its expected in the city by the middle of the year,” she says.
“Our focus this year is to get the new chocolate factory up and running. Once we have achieved this we will start working on plans to operate chocolate tours and then look at opening a café on the site. The wonderful thing about this building is that it allows us to manage our expansion in stages.”