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Have you heard of Small Business Saturday?

Saturday, November 29, is Small Business Saturday – an annual antidote to the Big Boxiness of Black Friday, and a chance to recognize and support your local independent businesses.

We love Small Business Saturday because we started about as small as they come, and we’re big believers in spending dollars consciously. We’re just one of an international community of smaller enterprises who need homegrown support to grow. In celebration of the day, we thought we’d share some of our favourite small (but mighty) businesses from our two hometowns – Shanghai and Edmonton.

First up is Jacek Chocolate Couture, a much-buzzed-about small business from Edmonton that’s been on our mind – and, let’s face it – on our tongues since we moved into our office space just down the street!

Jacqueline Jacek is the high-energy, artistic mastermind and chocolatier behind the small, decadent chocolates, which are in high demand for their unique flavour combinations and beautifully detailed designs. We picked Jacqueline’s mind about running a speedily-growing business...

What do you love about owning your own business?
I love that I get to decide my own future with every decision I make, and that I get to create my dream job as a “Cocoanista.” I love building a team of like-minded people who also care about bringing joy through experience, fine (fashionable) chocolate and giving.

What is challenging about owning your own busines
For me, the most challenging thing is taking the next step in growth. Ironically enough, I don’t embrace risk as much as many fellow business owners, so taking the business to the next level requires putting my fear of failure aside and committing to our ambitious goals for the future.

What do you like about being a business owner in Edmonton?
I love Edmonton, and feel that there is no better place for entrepreneurs to launch their business. Edmontonians embrace creativity, are super-strong supporters of buying local, and are open to new ideas. For me, the people in our city are what make starting a business here so great. 

What values and philosophies drive your business?
That’s an easy one: joy. The only thing more important to JACEK than fine chocolate is joy – it’s our guiding star when making difficult business decisions. It is our core, and a value that is fundamental to who we are, who we hire, and how we deliberately create the customer experience. For example, we have famous quotes about joy on the bottom of all of our JACEK branded gift bags - my favorite being “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened” from Dr. Seuss.

Why is it important to support local small businesses?
There is the obvious reason of keeping the dollars circulating in our own economy, which is very important - but for me, it’s also because Edmonton has amazing products and services that are better than what you can source elsewhere! 

We have so many brilliant local businesses that should be celebrated, and the best way to to do that is to spread the word about these gems… and to consider quality as the true value – not quantity. By focusing on quality, it makes it very easy for consumers to choose to purchase locally. This then encourages innovation, new enterprise, and more high-quality choices for consumers so we can ultimately build a city we all want to live in.

Jacek Chocolate Couture has locations in both Edmonton and Sherwood Park. Our recommendation? The Sea Salt Caramels, which we’ve definitely never eaten six of instead of a balanced lunch.

Next up on our Small Business Spotlights: a graphic designer who finds inspiration for ceramics, textiles, and more in daily Shanghai life. Stay tuned. 

Claire Theaker-Brown
Claire Theaker-Brown


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