Antigo­nish choco­latier rec­og­nized by Google

The Casket - - Local - BREN­DAN AH­ERN com­mu­ni­ties@her­ald.ca

ANTIGO­NISH — Google has spo­ken.

Peace by Choco­late is of­fi­cially the Na­tional Hero Case in the multi­na­tional tech-gi­ant’s Grow with Google pro­gram.

Grow with Google pro­vides a plat­form for peo­ple look­ing to gain new skills and train­ing in their ca­reer though search, ad­ver­tise and pro­duc­tiv­ity tools, as well as train­ing videos and events all avail­able on­line.

“I couldn’t be­lieve it,” says Peace by Choco­late founder and CEO, Tareq Had­had. “We’re still a new busi­ness con­sid­er­ably, and there are so many other busi­nesses within Nova Sco­tia and other parts of the coun­try that have been here for a long time and who are hir­ing peo­ple and ex­pand­ing.”

The eco­nomic im­pact that Google has had on busi­nesses like Peace by Choco­late was writ­ten into a re­port by Deloitte last year.

The 2017 re­port, which was com­mis­sioned by Google, mea­sured its eco­nomic im­pact by look­ing at how busi­nesses which reg­u­larly used Google ap­pli­ca­tions ended up gen­er­at­ing be­tween $10.4 bil­lion and $18.5 bil­lion that year. Ac­cord­ing to the re­port, this eco­nomic ac­tiv­ity is the equiv­a­lent of 112,000-200,000 full-time jobs.

Grow with Google was built off the strength of that re­port, and there was a call for sub­mis­sions from Cana­dian busi­nesses to be se­lected as Google’s Na­tional

Hero Case.

Had­had sub­mit­ted his case last sum­mer, and the re­sponse was im­me­di­ate.

“Within a few min­utes af­ter I sub­mit­ted my email to Google, they emailed me back and said that we had a great chance to be the na­tional hero case for Google in the cam­paign that they are do­ing,” says Had­had.

Peace by Choco­late was cho­sen and can be seen on the Grow with Google web­site mast­head. Had­had says he didn’t re­al­ize his face would be on ev­ery­one’s phone screens.

“On Satur­day at 1 am., a friend from On­tario texted me with a screen shot that he took,” says Had­had laugh­ing. “He said, ‘Are you in­vad­ing our cell­phones?’.”

The story of Peace by Choco­late’s rapid growth starts in a kitchen.

Shortly af­ter ar­riv­ing in Nova Sco­tia, the Had­hads at­tended a potluck din­ner hosted by mem­bers of their new com­mu­nity in Antigo­nish.

Tareq’s father, As­sam Had­had pre­pared the kind of treats he once shipped to coun­tries all over the Mid­dle East from his fac­tory in Da­m­as­cus. Not long af­ter, the Had­hads were sell­ing 200 pieces of choco­late every week at the Antigo­nish farm­ers mar­ket.

That was in 2016.

In 2018 Peace by Choco­late is be­ing sold with over 400 ven­dors across Canada and are ship­ping hun­dreds of thou­sands of choco­late prod­ucts every month. They have a dis­tri­bu­tion

“The early stages were built on per­se­ver­ance and the de­ter­mi­na­tion of my fam­ily to give the town a taste of what we were mak­ing in Syria,” says Had­had. “None of them would be­lieve you if you said that in 2018 it would be like this.”

It didn’t hap­pen by ac­ci­dent. “I was re­ally do­ing a lot of on­line re­search,” says Had­had about the early-days of the com­pany. “We had a list of the things we’d need. Tools, moulds, the spe­cial freez­ers, and reg­is­ter­ing the busi­ness.”

“I was re­ally do­ing a lot of on­line re­search. Al­ways search­ing for ven­dors, sup­plies, dis­tri­bu­tion net­works and look­ing at ideas for start-ups.”

Google’s search tools played a big part in con­nect­ing the Had­hads with ev­ery­thing they would need to ex­pand, and its ad­ver­tis­ing tools helped drive traf­fic to their home.

“That’s how we were in­spired to move from the house,” says Had­had. “Peo­ple were driv­ing from New Bruns­wick, Pic­tou and Hal­i­fax com­ing to see us. We were sell­ing choco­late from the house.”

Peace by Choco­late now op­er­ates out of a fac­tory just out­side of town in Antigo­nish county. The fac­tory em­ploys 35 peo­ple and is look­ing for more to meet the in­creased de­mand.

“We’re still wait­ing for the new ma­chines to ar­rive in the next cou­ple of says, so we’ll be re­quir­ing more em­ploy­ees,” says Had­had.

“I am hon­oured with ev­ery­thing that has hap­pened so far. And it just gives a sense of what this coun­try stands for. There is mas­sive op­por­tu­nity for ev­ery­one to start-up.”

Eric Wynne/the Chron­i­cle Her­ald

CEO Tareq Had­had’s com­pany, Peace by Choco­late, has been rec­og­nized by Google through its Grow with Google cam­paign.

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