The Chocolate Factory
The inspiration for The Chocolate Factory came as a result of a friend asking Michelle if, she could bring her little boy on a visit to the factory as a birthday treat and a great success it was too! Little did Michelle know this would be the seed for a new business.
Michelle researched all the other chocolate attractions and from that research felt that, she should offer visitors a real chocolate ?experience?! Her aim was and still is, to get visitors as close as possible to the production of chocolate as well as giving them a fact and fun filled talk. This all accompanied with generous sampling of chocolate along the way!
The commercial reality behind this venture is quite straightforward. There is a real concern about the future of manufacturing in the UK. This uncertainty includes the confectionery industry, where several manufacturers have already switched production of brands to outside of the UK. With this is mind, it seemed to prudent to diversify into an area not dependant upon retailers seeking even ?cheaper? product.
To date the project has been very successful, considering the limited funds available and the need to maintain the existing role of the business, i.e. to supply retailers with high quality confectionery gifts. Success has been measured by the high number of repeat visits from members of the public and from schools as well. Visitor questionnaires show a consistently high level of customer satisfaction with over 95% of visitors rating their visits as excellent value for money and an overall visitor satisfaction rating of 93%!
Michelle and Tony have also been buoyed by achieving VAQAS (Visitor Assured Quality Attraction Services) accreditation in 2005 and having this accreditation re-affirmed in 2006. This is a service supplied by Visit Wales, the tourism department of the Welsh Assembly Government.
As far as 2007 is concerned, the aim is to increase visitor levels 10 fold! This might seem overly ambitious but Tony and Michelle are quietly confident as they believe they have a solid marketing plan in place. One particular part of this plan is the proposed co-operation with other attractions in the area, which aims at keeping visitors within the Swansea Bay area.
Overall, Michelle and Tony believe that, our long lasting love affair and fascination with chocolate will fuel people?s curiosity and enthusiasm to visit The Chocolate Factory for an unforgettable chocolate experience.
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