Vol. 5: WillyPete of Willy Pete's Chocolate Co.
Extreme Biz Profiles is a series where you can learn more about Biz members' ventures while at the same time receiving a special offer! It then opens up to any questions you may have about their products, company history, industry hurdles, etc.
THE HOT SEAT
First things first. Were you a chilihead or a chocoholic first? And what made you want to combine the two?
I was a chilihead first, I started growing peppers about 3 years ago. Last year I pulled in 8 pounds of ghost peppers, I had no clue what to do with them all. After making tons of jelly, and pickling them, I decided to dehydrate them. Now I had a ton of dried peppers. For some reason infusing it with chocolate popped into my head.
I figured from some of the names and themes you were a veteran. Answered my own question on your site. Thanks for your service! Did the military in any way inspire this, or prepare you for this business?
I am a medically retired veteran. I was in the Army Infantry. I served one deployment in Afghanistan 2009-10. The names of the flavors and the name of the company mostly stem from military terms or names. Willy Pete is what we called white phosphorus, and if you know anything about white phosphorus you know it burns. So between that and the play on another popular candy company, I rolled with it.
The Army prepared me in one way, and that is not to quit. This is a dream that is only months old. I would love for it to grow and become my fully time job. Its been up and down and there have been days where I want to quit. But I will not give up.
You have a M.O.A.B, Mother Of All Bars! Tell us about this!
AHHHHH the MOAB....... I wanted to drum up some social media presence and get my name out there. So what better way than to make a challenge bar and get it out there for people to film and post online. I wanted to make something challenging and HOT. So I figured using the hottest peppers and something sticky. So far out of 8 bars sold only one person finished it. He did it in 12 minutes. I don't think he is human.
What is your most popular bar?
My most popular bar at this time is one with no heat at all. Its the Black Ops bar. Dark Chocolate, with Rum infused black cherries and Black Rifle Coffee Co. coffee beans. Its amazing, even without the heat.
Any new flavors on the horizon?
I have some new flavors in the works. I will most likely announce 2 or 3 just in time for Christmas. They will be while supplies last. I grow all of my own peppers used in the chocolates. So certain flavors using certain peppers could run out. But next year I can always grow more and bring the flavor back out again.
¡FIERY! QUESTION: I noticed you have a Black Hole Sun bar. Can you tell us more about this name? Chris' passing was so unexpected, and their music must have had an impact on you.
I was a huge Seattle Grunge fan as a kid. Sound Garden being one of my favorites. I named the bar for the dark color of the chocolate and the golden ghost pepper in it. Kinda seemed fitting to me. Chris Cornell's death hit a soft spot with me. Suicide is a pretty crappy thing. I have lost more friends from the Army to suicide than in combat. I have a suicide help center's phone number and contact info on all of my labels.
Stock up for Halloween!