For Valentine's or any other day, the Chocolate Crisis Center in RiNo offers a prescription for chocoholics in need. Owners Lisa Heppner and J.C. Bourque applied their marketing and branding know-how to create a compelling brand.
In crisis? Need chocolate?
Denver's RiNo Art District
is home to the Chocolate Crisis Center
where patients in need can self-medicate on "Daily Doses" of premium Belgian chocolate products. The center offers a plethora of delectable options to help any chocoholic navigate the battlefield of love. From their "Party of One" to their "Couples Therapy" crisis kits, chocolate-needy patients are sure to find prescriptions for any Valentine's Day diagnosis.
Crisis equals opportunityOwners Lisa Heppner and J.C. Bourque applied their marketing and branding know-how to create a compelling brand.
A true Colorado concept, the idea for the Chocolate Crisis Center was conceived on a trip to Rocky Mountain National Park 10 years ago.
"We witnessed a woman digging frantically through her purse at an overlook," recalls Owner/Founder Lisa Heppner, whose partner in the chocolate business is J.C. Bourque. "When one of her companions asked what she was doing, she exclaimed that she was having a 'chocolate crisis.' We were intrigued by the idea that people have such intense cravings for chocolate, and we started looking into it. We found hundreds of references and postings on the Internet in which people used that same phrase -- 'chocolate crisis' -- to describe their cravings. The concept of the Chocolate Crisis Center was born, and we applied our experience in advertising and marketing to develop the idea into a brand."
The pair had plenty of relevant experience to apply, as the minds behind Heppner & Bourque
(H&B), a creative design and B2B marketing firm. CCC started as a wholesaler and today ships to 350 accounts, but they opened a retail store at 3370 Walnut St. in 2013 that adjoins the H&B offices. The two companies share space, employees and resources, and CCC serves as a living portfolio of H&B's marketing and design philosophies.
Chocolate Crisis Center sells gourmet caramels, truffles, nuts and fruits, all covered with Belgian dark or milk chocolate. Packaged as pill bottles, their "Daily Doses" come in a wide variety of staple and seasonal flavors including Chocolate Blueberry, Triple Chocolate Truffle and one of their bestsellers, Chocolate Sea Salt Carmelita.
"Sampling countless delectable chocolate confections every year is daunting enough, and winnowing the possibilities to around a dozen flavors can be utterly heartbreaking -- but it's a burden we willingly bear for our customers," jokes Heppner. "We are continually adding new flavors to the lineup to keep our offering fresh and interesting."
In the middle of it all in RiNoPackaged as pill bottles, their "Daily Doses" come in a wide variety of staple and seasonal flavors.
In addition to pill bottles, medicine kits and cases filled with chocolate, Chocolate Crisis Center offers customers a true experience at their First Friday events. An interactive project, Be Part of the Art encourages chocolate customers to join Dr. Ernst Angst for a "therapy" session. Complete with a variety of props and costumes, participants stage hilarious photos that are then posted on the company website and Facebook page.
Heppner and Bourque also created the RiNo Epicurean Market, which brings over 500 people together twice a year to sample food and wines and shop at their Walnut Street shop and office.
With high-quality chocolates, innovative flavors and unique branding, it is no surprise the up-and-coming RiNo Art District and patrons have embraced the creativity of the Chocolate Crisis Center for over nine years.
"Put simply, RiNo is the hottest thing going in the Front Range art scene. The district attracts people from all over the region, offers a wide variety of creativity and entertainment and gets great press," acknowledges Heppner. "And our store is right in the middle of it all."