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DeBrand Ships Chocolates Around The World For Holidays

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DeBrand Fine Chocolates
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The holiday season has always been the busiest time of year for DeBrand Fine Chocolates in Fort Wayne, and this month they broke their own shipping record by sending more than 2,000 packages in a single day.

Michelle Stoops, a spokeswoman for DeBrand, says nearly every employee helped on December 14, the busiest shipping day of this year.

“We kind of had all hands on deck,” she said. “I mean, the office was back there helping, our owner Cathy was back there tying towers and just, it was an all-company effort to get there and make sure that we were going to get all of those chocolates that were scheduled to ship out on that Monday.”

That beat their previous record by about 50 boxes.

“So every year we always think we can beat the goal, and that’s always the plan is to beat it, but this year we actually finally did.” Cathy Brand-Beere started the company in 1987. According to a video on the company’s website, Brand-Beere started working with chocolate at the age of eight. Her parents had a cake decorating and candy making supply store.

“So I had all these ingredients at my fingertips, but it was always the chocolate that I loved the most,” Brand-Beere said.

The original store on Wells Street is no longer standing, but today, there are three locations around the city, and the owners are planning to open another next year in the new Ash Brokerage building in downtown Fort Wayne.

DeBrand offers tours at their corporate headquarters on Auburn Road, where visitors can see how the chocolates are made and try free samples. Most are made by hand.

“One of the things I believe that sets us apart is that we’re perfectionists,” she said. “We don’t want to settle for second best in any way.”

No recording devices were allowed on the tour. The guide said it was to protect their unique chocolate-making process. But after the tour, I asked the group why they chose to visit DeBrand.

Abbey Winteregg says she’d never been to the chocolate factory before, even though she’s lived in Fort Wayne her whole life.

“I almost feel like I’ve taken it for, taken advantage of it, and not come before,” Winteregg said. “I wish I would have come earlier. We have family that comes from out of town, and I think I’ll bring them for a tour. I think they’ll enjoy it.”

Winteregg came with her husband and daughter, Brinley, who liked the tour and sampling the treats.

Her husband Aaron went on the tour to find out how chocolate is made.

“I liked the, just seeing how they make it and the artistry of it because everything looks, you know, almost too good to eat.”

Their friend Dianne Ilang-Ilang joined them on the tour. It was her idea to visit DeBrand while Brinley is on winter break.

“It’s always nice to really support local stuff,” Ilang-Ilang said.

While DeBrand’s prices are a bit high when compared with other chocolates, spokeswoman Michelle Stoops says the quality ingredients make it worth the cost.

“People always deserve to treat themselves,” Stoops said. “I feel like chocolate is kind of an indulgence that people are always willing to splurge a little bit.”

And thousands of customers would agree, especially during the holidays.

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