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PORTLAND, Ore. — June 12, 2024 — Gourmet chocolate retailer Chocolat-e has been named one of 50 America’s Retail Champions by the National Retail Federation, the Washington, D.C.-based organization that advocates for the nation’s 4.6 million retail establishments. The America’s Retail Champion program, “celebrates small retailers who are exceptional advocates for retail and the communities they serve,” according to the NRF.

Sandy-based Chocolat-e was cofounded by French-born Jeanyves Verdu, who couldn’t find chocolate he liked after moving to Oregon in 2018. He assembled a group of investors and food  and community experts to solve the problem, and Chocolat-e was born in 2019. The company’s innovative model presents chocolate as a tasting experience. Its best-selling product, the Discovery Box, contains six single-origin chocolates, each sourced from a single cocoa farm. The chocolates are meant to be savored slowly and compared.

Chocolat-e’s original recipes were created by co-founder Frédéric Cassel, one of France’s top pastry chefs, and produced by Valrhona in France using cocoa beans sourced ethically and sustainably from farms in Madagascar, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Ecuador, Belize and Brazil. Chocolat-e has been a Benefit Corporation for Good since 2023 and is also now a pending B Corp.

“My partners and I are truly honored to be named one of America’s Retail Champions,” said Jeanyves. “We sure have our unique way of running the company; we don’t believe in job titles and hierarchy. We talk and make decisions together.”

“Our company’s motto is, ‘Born in Oregon, Made in France.’ And to us, there’s nothing more Oregonian than providing a good product in a socially responsible and sustainable way,” adds Oregon-born cofounder Norm Rice.

 Jeanyves, Norm and the rest of the 2024 America’s Retail Champions will be recognized July 25 at the NRF’s Retail Advocates Summit in Washington, D.C.



Chocolat-e (pronounced “chocolate”) was founded in 2019 and is an American and French venture based in Sandy, Oregon, with a strong belief: gourmet chocolate is an experience and a discovery. Six single-origin bars take chocolate lovers on an aroma journey, showcasing the distinct terroirs of Brazil, Belize, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Madagascar and Mexico with simple recipes that allow the purest essence of the cocoa to emerge.

The company is named for the French word “chocolat,” with an “e” to make it English and a hyphen to bridge the two cultures. The original recipes were created by Frédéric Cassel, Best Pastry Chef, France, 1999 and 2007; President of the French Team, Pastry world cup winner, 2013. The chocolate is processed by Valrhona in Tain-l’Hermitage, France, produced by Bovetti Chocolats in Terrasson, France, and packaged and distributed from Sandy, Oregon. The company’s chocolate bars, bites and baking chips are available online and at select retailers.