Flavors of gourmet Bon Bons
Years in business
Year Alex was named a "Forbes 30 under 30"
A passion project 8 years in the making, Bon Bon Bon went from dream to reality in 2013, when Alexandra Clark came home to Michigan with the goal of launching a specialty chocolate shop that appreciated a fun, magical approach to fine chocolate experimentation.
How the SBDC Helped
Alex began working with the SBDC from the very beginning on a variety of projects. She has sought guidance on future investments and continues to run potential financial decisions by the SBDC team, which has also helped connect her with various business resources.
Today, Bon Bon Bon has 3 shops across Michigan and is garnering national attention for its neatly crafted Bons of unique flavors. In early 2016, Clark was named to Forbes magazine's "30 under 30" in the Food & Drink category, signaling her as a groundbreaker in the industry.
Alexandra Clark spent 8 years traveling and studying cocoa and chocolate around the world as an agricultural economist. But when she began looking for areas to start a business, she realized she did not want to start Bon Bon Bon in any city other than her hometown of Detroit. Large cities equal high rent, and coming home to Detroit meant family support and financial viability.
While living elsewhere, Alex sent her parents to look at a 500-square-foot former cupcake shop in Hamtramck. She signed a lease without ever seeing it in person and moved back to Michigan two weeks later to start working! She got the keys on May 1, 2014, and she opened for business on July 19, 2014.
Alex says Bon Bon Bon will stay in Hamtramck forever because the community support has been amazing. “People really want to see Detroit succeed. It’s amazing what the community will do to see our business succeed.” For example, if Alex and her team are the shop late, some customers will come and bring them dinner. Customers also offer to help them package products when the company is really busy.
Our customer service is very unique, and very sincere, according to Alex. “The thing customers like most is when we admit our mistakes. When we spill a jug of heavy cream and put a picture of it up on Instagram, people go crazy. We’ve created an environment where it’s OK to make mistakes. It’s OK to be imperfect and to celebrate learning. People will accept your faults because they appreciate you trying.”
The SBDC has also played a key role in Bon Bon Bon’s growth, according to Alex. From the very beginning SBDC consultants were involved in a variety of projects—from advice on future investments to connecting the company with business resources.
If we’re having any large events at the store, the Michigan SBDC is always there, says Alex. “My SBDC consultant is emotionally invested in Bon Bon Bon’s success, and that means a lot to me.”