While I was brainstorming ideas for our next blog, I had this beautiful memory of Laura Secord come to mind. This image of my grandmother holding my hand, walking up to the shop to get my butterscotch lollipop, immediately brought me back to my childhood. When my own children were young, we used to buy them ice cream cones from the shop in our local mall. Barely able to see over the counter, we would lift them up and their eyes would grow wide as they saw all the ice cream and then chose their favourite flavors. And they loved the little Laura Secord chocolate that is carefully placed on the top of each scoop. Bonus!
I chose my colleague, appropriately named Candy, to join me for an interview at our local Laura Second shop. As we walked through the mall and came upon the shop, we saw a brand that for many symbolizes happy memories and a long history. Laura Secord, the person, was a Canadian icon who distinguished herself in the War of 1812. Her story is one of loyalty, courage and dedication - something that the current owners of this shop can attest to. The first Laura Secord opened in Toronto back in 1913, and has changed ownership several times, having last passed hands in 2010 to Jean and Jacques Leclerc in Quebec. Some of the previous owners included some of the biggest names in chocolate like Nestle, Rowntree, John Labatt Limited and Archibald. It was no small feat for the Leclerc’s to take over this brand from some of the biggest names in chocolate to hold their own! They now have over 105 shops and are considered Canada’s largest chocolatier!
We were greeted by Nakysha and introduced to Nathalie. Our mission was to discuss how the Kilotech KWS SW 06 benefits their business and how they use it. Nathalie explained to us that the scale is not just for weighing the chocolates by the gram. The scale is also used in training the staff on how to visually inspect the size of the ice cream scoop as they too come in various sizes: small (50g), regular (105g) and double (195g). Nathalie demonstrated this for us by placing a piece of food grade paper on the scale, then setting the TARE on the scale and weighing the ice cream. Before each shift, staff members will use the scale to ensure they have the scoop on the scoop!
Nathalie also mentioned that the scales are even used for quality control. Head office periodically asks her to weigh a sample of the prepackaged products such as fudge or cookies, to make sure that that the batch is accurate.
When I asked Nathalie what she would do if she could change anything on the scale, she said this scale does the job and she trusts its precision - which is good both for the shop and for the customer.
Nathalie knew the history of Laura Secord, the heroine in this story, and recounted it with such passion. She also pointed out how kids often come into the shop and ask who the lady is in the pictures or embossed on the chocolates. It gives her such joy to share with them this part of our history.
Laura Secord’s owners are committed to being environmentally friendly in their operations and sourcing. They use recycled materials, plant-based trays, and have decreased energy consumption and CO2 emissions through standardization and reduced packaging. They also support responsible cocoa cultivation.
Walking through the shop, we saw various products made with maple syrup like cookies, fudge and other delicious treats. In addition, I noticed they have their own branded chocolate chips for baking. They post all sorts of scrumptious recipes on their website - from sweet and salty focaccia to chocolate cheese cake and even spicy chocolate pork chops - all made with their own branded products used in traditional and innovative ways.
As a foodie myself, I love to know what other people’s favourite flavours are, so I asked Nathalie which ice cream flavor she prefers the most – and hers were chocolate peanut butter and chocolate mint. I guess working in an environment surrounded by chocolate is her calling!
As we winded down our interview, Nathalie said with a smile, "People come here to buy a memory or to make new ones.” It is so true... As Candy and I walked out of the store we shared our own childhood memories of Laura Secord and the ones we passed down to our kids.