Grocer’s Daughter Chocolate opened in Empire in 19 years ago, and has been fulfilling all of Northern Michigan’s sweet tooth cravings ever since. The store was originally founded by Mimi Wheeler in 2004 when she couldn’t find chocolate as good as what she had in her origin country, Denmark. She started by making chocolate bon bons for her friends and family, and it eventually blossomed into a beloved shop in Empire. In 2013, Jody and DC Hayden bought the shop from Mimi, where they now continue her legacy.
“I think what’s interesting about Grocers Daughter compared to most chocolatiers I know in the country is that we’re lower sugar. And so even though we have great treats like, you know, it’s still kind of a candy, people that are looking for a healthier treat, we have lots of options for them. So really good dark chocolate, 70% cacao or more,” said co-owner Jody Hayden.
Something that Grocer’s Daughter Chocolate makes a priority, is sourcing their cacao directly from the farmer.
“Our chocolate is made into bulk disc format in the country of origin. So, in our case, Quito, Ecuador and the reason that we prefer that model is so that more of the profit and the jobs stay in the producing country. We go to Ecuador at least once a year and we usually take people with us. So, if anybody wants to join, they can come along. But you could see the chocolate from the farmer to the manufacturer in Quito. So, then we bring in container loads of chocolate here and then we make all of the different like over 100 different items,” said Hayden.
You can find many different types of chocolate treats at Grocer’s Daughter including their famous hot chocolate, bon bons, and seasonal treats like peppermint bark.