Wildly popular Hamtramack-based chocolate company Bon Bon Bon sells out of bon bons so quickly they have opened their first showroom on the iconic Chrysler House first floor, all before their first year anniversary as a new small business. Their Detroit retail space is open everyday except Sunday and their Hamtramack center still opens every Saturday.
Owner and chocolatier of Bon Bon Bon Alexandra Clark started with a desire for 200 sq. ft. of downtown retail space. Her team has transformed it to resemble a chocolate carpentry workshop. Walls are covered with waffle patterned cardboard used to make their chocolate boxes. Glass displays are filled with beautifully designed chocolates. Behind the counter, where they create their boxes, looks like an assembly line of workbenches with serrated knives instead of hand saws. She chose the Bedrock-owned location for its size and central position.
“Having Bedrock as our landlord is incredible,” Clark said. “That role can make or break a business.”
Clark was equally happy with her experience as a small business owner in Hamtramack. She said, “It is very easy to start a small business in Hamtramack. It has inexpensive real estate that has been cared for a long time. The space needed very little work compared to spaces in other Detroit neighborhoods and the city is very easy to deal with.”
Clark believes the reason Detroiters has been so receptive to the $3 a piece bon bon is because buying chocolates is not about the price point. She also believes her store has been so well received because everyone is treated equally. It does not hurt that her bon bons are like edible art and Detroit is very enchanted by artisan chocolate.
Clark said, “A lot of chocolate shops, when someone comes in and orders a big box, it is beautiful with lace, ribbon, and satin. If all you can afford is one to two pieces, they will take it and pad wax paper and hand it to you. It feels really separating and judgmental. I think Bon Bon Bon has been so well received because there is no judgment here. If you get one piece, it still comes in a similar box as if you ordered a dozen. That is really nice especially in a city where people make such different amounts of money.”
Bon bons have no rules compared to truffles, which are circular, should look like the truffle fungus, usually made of ganache, and dusted in something. Detroit culture has inspired the top selling Packzi bon bon, made of fried dough ganache, Polish confiture, paczki sliver, and donut sugar. Other Detroit-inspired flavors include Boston Cooler and The Temptation. Clark loves Detroit and the love is mutual, as she credits much of her success to her loyal repeat customers.
Bon Bon Bon will collaborate with Gold Cash Gold on a five-course dinner on May 5. Other summer plans include constructing the world’s longest chocolate box using the same cardboard as their chocolate boxes.
The downtown showroom’s hours are Monday-Friday 11 a.m.-7 p.m. and Saturdays 10 a.m.-3 p.m. You’ll find it at 719 Griswold, Suite 100 in Detroit.
Visit the Bon Bon Bon website for more information.