Growing Peace by Chocolate

    Photo by Matt Draper Tareq Hadhad (right) stands in front of the Peace By Chocolate headquarters next to his home in Antigonish. The Hadhad family is looking to expand the business and will host a grand opening of the new, larger facility on August 10.

    ANTIGONISH: A local business is growing.

    Tareq Hadhad, spokesperson for the Antigonish-based business Peace By Chocolate, said the company is looking to expand.

    “Because of the huge demand and the potential for growth, we said it’s a really great opportunity for us to start looking for bigger facilities to produce chocolate and be able to hire more Canadians from the community in Antigonish,” he said.

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    Following the company’s local work and some international advertising from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who mentioned Antigonish’s Peace By Chocolate during a speech in front of the United Nations, demand has spiked for the local wares. Hadhad said the company began receiving orders from across the country.

    In order to meet demand, Tareq and his family started a Go Fund Me campaign, Grow Peace By Chocolate, last year. Tareq said the funds raised through the 30-day campaign, which began on November 7, will go toward setting up a bigger factory and conducting product and consumer testing required by larger stores.

    “If people have Peace By Chocolate in their area, that will keep the awareness [of the company alive],” he said. “We thought we should take advantage of all the attention that we have, all the exposure, and start expanding.”

    Hadhad said the new facility is large enough to allow for increased production.

    “The number of employees is not set yet,” he said. “We are just starting to set up our system and people are still applying to our Web site for the jobs. We have received so many resumes from the town, and we start doing the interviews [this] week.”

    He said the grand opening of the facility, the location of which they are still keeping under wraps, will take place on August 10.

    Isam Hadhad, Tareq’s father, began making chocolate 30 years ago in Damascus, Syria. When the country became too dangerous for his family, he closed his business and moved his family to Lebanon in 2013. Tareq said the family applied to the Canadian embassy in 2015, and he was accepted for a scholarship to study medicine. The scholarship was later refused because of his age but the family’s resettlement application was approved. Tareq landed in Canada last December, 2015, with the five other family members landing in January, 2016.

    The family soon began making chocolate and distributed hundreds of samples at a local potluck to get feedback. After a positive response, they began selling a small amount of chocolates at the Antigonish Winter Market. After the first time, they found lines of up to 50 people waiting for a candy fix. Over 50 volunteer carpenters, electricians, councilors, and others built a small shop adjacent to the family’s home.