The wonderful City of Logan is full of many awesome businesses but there aren’t too many that are always this sweet.
Poppy’s Chocolate in Beenleigh all started because owner Lynda Pedder could not find quality chocolates as a gift for herself and while being frustrated she could not get them, an idea was born.
Having searched the east coast for a quality product and not finding any that suited; in July 2005 Lynda purchased a well-established business in Brisbane and had the idea to turn it into a premium chocolate supplier.
With a client base already in place the first thing Lynda did was improve the quality and begin work on making quality coloured chocolates. This was the first step in being a quality chocolate wholesaler with the next step moving the business to Logan.
Prior to creating Poppy’s Chocolate, Lynda worked in production management for the largest privately owned food production company in the world and had also been a business owner. This helped to give her the confidence to make these steps.
While still creating the new business and brand, Lynda had an underlying passion to own a café that was dedicated to chocolate. Only six short weeks after moving the business to Beenleigh, Lynda purchased a café on the Gold Coast and turned it into Queensland’s first chocolate café, Choclicious.
Choclicious had its ups and downs but Lynda was working hard on making Poppy’s Chocolate continue to grow and keeping the café running. As the wholesale side was expanding, the decision was made six years after opening Choclicious to sell and concentrate solely on the wholesale side of business.
This sole concentration didn’t last overly long as Lynda was missing seeing the reaction of people when they took a bite into quality chocolate. Seeing the joy and sometimes funny reactions from her customers was missing and the passion to be able to sell direct to the public was growing again.
A lucky opportunity and good timing saw the adjacent building become available and Lynda jumped at it and expanded Poppy’s. In 2011 Poppy’s Chocolate started selling directly to the public from the Beenleigh factory where the chocolates are also being made.
Lynda went through a rough patch personally however powered through this challenge and took it all as a lesson.
“As some of you might know, having your own business and growing it, tests all relationships to the max”, said Lynda.
“Unfortunately, not long after, my husband decided the life of a small business owner was not for him and moved away.
“Here I was. Suddenly having to manage the business and bring up 3 small children, on my own.
“The journey has not been an easy one and it is challenging enough to be a single parent let alone run a business at the same time. My passion for chocolate kept me going then, and still does today, but more importantly, my passion for teaching my children that you have to work hard for what you want and, leading by example, allowed me to draw strength during difficult and challenging periods”.
While Lynda’s dream of global chocolate café domination may not have been achieved, the Robina Town Centre management asked many times for Lynda to open a new shop in their centre. After many knockbacks she finally caved and in 2016 opened her new retail shop.
Last month Poppy’s celebrated their 15th birthday and the business is constantly changing. With chocolate there are endless possibilities and Lynda creates most of her creations on concepts she enjoys.
One of the newest lines coming out is freeze dried fruit covered in chocolate. This may not be a guilt free way to eat fruit but it is one of the tastiest.
A question Lynda has to answer continually is ‘why don’t you wear gloves?’
There is a misconception that goes with not wearing gloves when making the chocolate products. When people wear gloves it’s actually less sanitary than when they don’t wear gloves, with the exception of when employees have cuts or open sores on their hands.
A hand-hygiene study was conducted and found that hand washing rates were significantly lower when gloves were worn. This is due to the fact that gloves create a false sense of cleanliness, which ultimately leads to gloves being used incorrectly and employees not washing their hands well or as often as they should.
Poppy’s Chocolate can be found in stores all over Australia and if you have flown and had a chocolate you may have tried one without knowing. You can also order online which has given this business a new avenue of expansion to get a quality chocolate from manufacture to mouth.
Oh and for those wondering, the name Poppy comes from a derivative of Lollipop which was a nickname Lynda’s mum used to call her. Rather fitting really.