At the club meeting in June, on Zoom, we heard from Sophie Lombard, the owner of Confiserie Verdonk in Wickham Square. She and her mother (now retired) have run the chocolate shop there for the last 20 years. The original Belgian owner, who gave the place its name, started the business some years earlier. Mr Verdonk and all subsequent owners have been purveyors of top quality Belgian chocolates.
There have been hard times, when trying to expand to another shop in Southsea, and through the 2008 recession, Brexit and COVID-19. Friends in the Square helped out during the pandemic, allowing Click and Collect while the shop was shut, when Sophie set up a website. She has seen profits eroded by increased costs due to currency fluctuations and Brexit paperwork, but has stuck to a quality product with a continental style of packaging. See the box shared virtually!
The biggest running cost after rent is air conditioning, to maintain the ambient temperature that’s right for chocolate. There is little wastage of stock, as the turnover is much faster than the shelf life. The busiest time of year is running up to Christmas, with deliveries up to twice daily, and slower in the summer months when the new gelato range supplements chocolate sales. Give it a try!