On September 9, Tareq Hadhad and his family cut the ribbon on their new Peace By Chocolate factory in Antigonish.

Tareq was the first of his family to arrive in Antigonish, after leaving the war torn country of Syria. When the country became too dangerous for the rest of his family, Tareq’s father Isam closed his business and moved his family to Lebanon in 2013. Tareq landed in Canada in December, 2015, with five other family members landing in January, 2016.

Upon arriving, Tareq convinced Isam, a chocolate maker for 30 years, to get back into the family business. The family soon began making chocolate and distributed hundreds of samples at a local potluck to get feedback, and with a positive response, they began selling a small amount of chocolates at the Antigonish Winter Market. After the first time out, they found lines of up to 50 people waiting for a candy fix.

When several volunteers built a facility adjacent to the family’s home, Peace By Chocolate began receiving several positive reviews, including one from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during a speech to the United Nations. Since then, demand went through the roof and the family decided to expand, which led to the new factory.

Much of this wouldn’t have happened without Sobeys, which has a special lease agreement with the Hadhads, and managed renovations – including electrical upgrades, and providing equipment to get the building ready – for their new factory. Sobeys also has an agreement with Peace By Chocolate to get their product into its stores.

Tareq said there will be over 20 people working at the new factory in the next couple of months, and with the holiday season around the corner, they need employees as soon as possible.

Tareq added that the family was “very lucky” to be in the Strait area because of the level of support they received in the form of loyal customers and volunteers and neighbours always willing to help.

This region is equally fortunate that these talented chocolate-makers decided to share their talents with the public, and now have a local business that is expanding and creating jobs.

Rather than establishing themselves in more populated urban centres, the Hadhads settled in the Strait area and that decision turned out be very good news for everyone.