News Feature

Originally published in Island Ad-Vantages, June 7, 2012
Isle au Haut chocolatiers named Home-based Business Champions

Black Dinah award

From left, Marilyn Geroux, Deputy District Director for the Small Business Administration’s Maine District Office, Steve and Kate Shaffer and Maurice Dubé, District Director of the Small Business Administration’s Maine District Office.

Photo courtesy of the SBA

by Faith DeAmbrose

With tasty delicacies such as “Frogs on a Log,” “Bark” and “Slate,” you may wonder what on earth you would be eating. But don’t let the names fool you because inside of each is one essential ingredient: chocolate. And it is chocolate that has brought Kate and Steve Shaffer of Isle au Haut into the national spotlight.

In fact, the small business started on a remote island by the Shaffers has taken off in recent years, and its success is not only chronicled on the pages of Martha Stewart Living magazine, Yankee magazine and Gourmet, but has now been affirmed by Maine’s Small Business Administration.

Black Dinah Chocolatiers was recently named the SBA 2012 Home Based Business Champion and their award can be viewed at their new satellite location inside of Fairwinds Florist in downtown Blue Hill.

According to Bill Card of the SBA, the Shaffers were nominated for the award by Ruth Cash-Smith of the Women’s Business Center at Coastal Enterprises, Inc. and “are very deserving of this award.”

According to Cash-Smith, she nominated Black Dinah for many reasons, adding that the fact they make chocolate is truly a bonus. Cash-Smith said she has been working with the Shaffers since 2006, “and I have been able to watch the amazing things they have done.”

She said not only do the Shaffers put out a high-quality product, but “are principled about how they want their business to grow.” Cash-Smith said that BDC’s attention to sustainable growth, fair-trade products, and community investment makes it “a first rate business with a national reputation.”