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Ingenuity Never Tasted So Good: Le Chocoholique
<p><a href="http://www.lechocoholique.com/"><img alt="" src="/files/public/userfiles/1000/blog/2010/09/new_label.jpg" title="Le Chocoholique" class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-433" style="width: 370px; height: 217px;"></a> </p>
<p style="text-align: center;"><img width="276" height="355" align="left" src="/files/public/userfiles/1000/blog/2010/09/Choco-2.jpg" title="The Chocoholique Buckeye" class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-434" style="margin: 0pt 20px 20px 0pt;" alt=""></p>
<p><em>Crash Blog: Crash Innovative Columbus Businesses. Write about it. Post it.</em> "I get to shop for a living," she said, as she showed me <a href="http://www.lechocoholique.com/">Le Chocoholique's</a> top shelf goodies. With chocolate from Mexico, Brazil, England, Belgium and family owned businesses across the US, owner Monica Barr is bringing a piece of sweetness to the Short North.<!--more--> After leaving the software development world with her business partner, Dana Jablonski, she decided to pursue her passion, her obsession; chocolate. She felt that starting her own business was a mark of freedom, a way to truly express herself. "When you work for a large corporation, you can't have any of your own ideas. I didn't want to work the rest of my life being miserable," she said. "I wanted to do something I enjoyed." Now, she boasts one of the most sought after locations in the Short North, not only offering everything chocolate, but a peaceful space that features local artists, a light food menu, coffee and Wi-Fi. But she doesn't do it just for the creative kick. She sells chocolate because it makes people happy. "Everyone who comes in here is happy, and if not, they are by the time they leave," she said.</p>
<p style="text-align: left;">Whatever the reason, customers are craving <a href="http://www.lechocoholique.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=51&Itemid=69">everything chocolate</a>. Chocoholique provides customized gifts for weddings, baby showers, hospital functions and practically any industry you can think of. She noticed that the store has also seen plenty of pregnant women and recent singles off of a breakup. "There are happy reasons and sad reasons people come into the store, but chocolate seems to make them feel better," she said.</p>
<p>We are not talking just edible items. They stimulate the senses with chocolate body care products and candles, to truly suffice the chocolate fix. The Candle Lab produces their <a href="http://www.lechocoholique.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=57&Itemid=76">sweet smelling candles</a>, from chocolate-orange to rosemary chocolate blends. Barr feels the reason for their success in this pseudo-Willy Wonka business, is the their inherent uniqueness. "These chocolates are popular because they are different," she said. And different they are. They look like pieces of art. They took the standard chocolate buckeye, and made it beautiful. They have chocolate birds, Twinkies, tortilla chips, dominos, breast cancer ribbons, treasure chests and <a href="http://www.lechocoholique.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=59:chocolates&catid=41:gallery&Itemid=75">much more</a>. "It may just be chocolate, but it's cool," she said. Barr contends that her plan would have never come to fruition without the support of her business partner. "Before this all started, Dana said to me, 'Regardless of the risk, at the end of the day, you can say you tried, even if you fail,'" she said. To her, the risk was well worth it.</p>