Today we are turning the tables on our website’s curator, Jenna. Recently Jenna and her partner, Sean have purchased a company that was founded right here in Barrie! You might already be familiar with this business, as they were a staple at the Barrie Farmers’ Market: Georgian Chocolate Co.! This company is family run, and committed to providing chocolate products that use healthy ingredients, support ethical sourcing, and minimize environmental impacts. Each and every chocolate bar is handcrafted in small batches using ethically sourced and traceable cacao beans. Each bar has an exceptional flavor unique to the harvest and region the beans originate from, and, all are packaged in original artwork by local artists. If you’ve had the opportunity to try this chocolate, you know it is delicious!

I had the opportunity to talk to Jenna about the business buying process, here is what she had to say.

What made you decide to purchase Georgian Chocolate Co.?
I heard about the opportunity of Georgian Chocolate Co. through the Henry Bernick Entrepreneurship Centre. When it was presented to me, I thought it would be a great opportunity for Sean and our growing family. When I told Sean about it, he was equally excited, if not more. We sat down with Kathrine Killam, the previous owner to get more details about Georgian Chocolate Co. After that first meeting with her, we knew it would be a great fit for us. Kathrine, Sean and I share very similar values in both family and business so we all knew this purchase was going to be a great venture.

What was your first step towards purchasing this business?
After meeting with Kathrine, we were very excited! We wanted things to happen quickly, I remember we told Kathrine we hoped that we could ‘close the deal’ in the next month. However, our business mentor was quick to tell us that things take time. Which they did. We started our business plan, and began searching for loan programs that we could apply for. We were happy to learn that the CDC in Orillia offer a loan program that we could take part in. After connecting with the CDC and telling them our plan, we started our application. This process took a couple of months, which included perfecting our business plan, presenting it to their Board and waiting for the approval. Once that was completed, we met with a business lawyer who took over the legal documents to make the purchase official! We worked with HGR Law Firm here in Orillia. Everyone was great to work with!

What is some advice you’ve give to someone purchasing a business?
If you are considering buying a business, I highly recommend getting a mentor and doing your research when it comes to loan programs. There are many programs in Simcoe County and it’s important to find one that is right for you and your business. Also, having a mentor is great because they are able to give you advice from experience. Even if it is not directly their experience, they know someone who has been through the same process so any questions you have, you get an educated answer.

What is the plan for Georgian Chocolate Co. now that you and Sean are the official new owners?
We will bring this business to Simcoe County, which is where we are from. In the future, we hope to open a petite retail location with our production space in the back. We’ve been searching for the perfect location to call home – so stay tuned for that! We will continue to build our wholesale sector of the business. We hope to increase the amount of retail locations we are located in with our beautiful chocolate bars!


John Pickard is the Executive Director of the Henry Bernick Entrepreneurship Centre at Georgian College.
Mr. Pickard is a Marketing strategist with experience in the consumer goods, publishing and telecom industries. Mr. Pickard honed his skills with global marketers Bristol-Myers and Warner-Lambert. John became Vice President of Telemedia Publishing, then Canada’s largest publisher, in 1990. Pickard entered the entrepreneurial ranks when he joined a start-up in the prepaid card market….. which was ultimately sold to AT&T. Mr. Pickard is well connected to the investment community and has been involved in securing investment for a variety of early stage companies. John has an extensive list of contacts in the Entrepreneurship space having spent the 6 years prior to joining Georgian College mentoring with Mars Discovery District, Bioenterprise Corp., and Innovation Guelph.