I’ve had the honor and pleasure of working with the Rob Taylor and Stafford’s Chocolates for several years and nominated them for the Small Business Development Center Outstanding Business Award which they deservingly won.
Larry Stafford opened Stafford’s Chocolates in Porterville, California, in 1987. Larry quickly became obsessed with creating old-school chocolate confections. During the next 20 years Larry became a premier chocolatier, earning several awards. Larry passed away in 2006 and his family ran the business until the Taylor family purchased it in 2011. The Taylor family took on the obsession of providing the same quality product everyone has associated with Stafford’s. In 2016 Stafford’s moved to a larger building on Main Street in downtown Porterville. Coffee was added, and an additional 6 employees were hired.
Rob and Leslee Taylor continue to manage Stafford’s in Porterville and their son, Ben, is Head Chocolatier. Today there are 25 total employees with a new retail site just opened in San Luis Obispo.
The Taylors saw an opportunity to show the world how chocolate confections are made. The new building has large windows, allowing customers to see chocolatiers crafting truffles, nut clusters, caramel, brittle, marshmallow, etc., all by hand. The large lobby area and coffee offerings have turned Stafford’s into the cornerstone of Main Street and a place for community gatherings and meetings. Thursday night Open Mic attracts local musicians and poets from the surrounding area to practice and perform. With a large and loyal social media presence, Stafford’s has helped promote many local authors and artists on Saturday mornings with book signings and art shows. Stafford’s continues to grow at a steady pace. From custom chocolate lips to wedding favors, corporate gifts and welcome packages, Stafford’s has found a niche outside of the local market.
Part of Stafford’s mission statement is to be a good neighbor. Involving the community, bringing it together to celebrate, supporting local business and contributing to organizations and schools in need are some of the ways Stafford’s takes part in the community. Participation in service clubs (Rotary), the Porterville Chamber of Commerce, city and county committees are other ways Stafford’s supports local business and community. Also included in their mission is a commitment to support the growth of all employees both personally and professionally. All employees have an opportunity to achieve greater personal and professional development if interested. Some of the recognition Stafford’s has received recently is as follows: 2014 City of Porterville Outstanding Business of the Year, 2018 Featured Executive Profile Business Journal and in 2020 Small Business of the Year California District 26.
Stafford’s Chocolates is located at 114 N. Main Street, Porterville, Hours: M-Sat 7-6/Sun. 9-2
(559) 784-6640 www.staffordschocolates.com