Friday, 30 January 2009

From the outside it might seem that not much happened today, but it took a lot of work to get there!

We managed to get the broadband online (thanks Murray) which will make life easier in the office. I have felt positively disconnected for the last week.

This afternoon we managed to wash all the walls down and brush the floor in preparation for painting the floors next week. I was very pleased when we had finished - it looks much brighter (and smells better too!)

It was a joint effort, and Joshua was an absolute star watching from the comfort of his pram. By the end of the sweeping though, it had become a spectator sport!

Thursday, 29 January 2009

Kev did really well last night and picked up a large table which we will use in the packaging area, and a whole set of shop shelving. There should be enough to do the whole retail space. The style fits in with the industrial chic look that we are going for. It seems daft to go against the fact that we are working in a factory so we decided to embrace it and work with it – hence the industrial chic. The units are metal and glass and came in for a total of £198 – probably about 10% of the original retail price for them. Kev and Murray brought them back during the day. Kev rebuilt them and I think they are going to be excellent. For the time being they are in the retail area whilst the production area is being developed.

A man came this morning to see if there was any asbestos in the building – we await the outcome! It doesn’t look there will be, which is good news.

BT came through today and we now have a phone line – hurray! Unfortunately the broadband isn’t online yet. Hopefully that will be fixed tomorrow.

Kev managed to relocate the sinks to within the production area from the corridor. The hole in the wall came in handy – it saved walking round the long way!

Wednesday, 28 January 2009


We took over the keys to the factory on the 15th January and have spent the last couple of weeks cleaning and sorting out the premises.

Our plan is to convert this space into a chocolate factory - or more specifically, a chocolate shop and visitors centre. This is quite an ambitious plan, especially as we don't have much in the way of cash flow - and it is going to be open by Easter this year. It has been used for processing game birds so is built for food use, although it needs cleaning and painting.

It is my intention to log the progress of the work over the weeks to show what work has been done and what has been achieved. Kev and Brian painted the office and the den to give a working space. This meant that a lot of the paperwork could move from our house to the factory. Anyone who knows our house, knows what a big deal it is gain some more space! Kev and George moved the desks in and I am gradually moving everything across. It is great to have a working space there. The desks were £15 each, and the office chairs were £6 the pair - plus six stacking chairs.

George and I exhibited at the largest wedding fair that we attend over this first weekend. The cakes are now waiting for their next outing.

Saturday was quite amazing. We had to put a great deal of 'stuff' into storage when we moved out of our last shop in May 2008. Several friends came over to help pick it all up and put it in the factory, ready to be sorted, cleaned, used or recycled. Our big empty space became fuller very quickly.

This week has seen some big changes. The shop shelving we bought for £30 has been built and put into the bulk storage area and Kev has removed a large section of wall ready to install some windows - when we find them.

Sunday, 25 January 2009

The Beginning

Olive Tree Chocolates have actually existed for more than four years, but this year sees something different, something new.

At first we worked in the kitchen at home. This was when we still lived in Manchester. We moved to North East Scotland and moved up to a 30 foot portakabin. More ambitious again, we took on the lease of a coffee shop for a year. Now we have...... a factory, our biggest, most ambitious plan.... ever!!! And this blog will follow the journey, it's highs and lows from the very beginning.

Thank you for joining me, I hope you enjoy the ride.