The small batch premium chocolate maker COCO Chocolatier is expanding its operations by creating a new chocolate factory and visitor centre at the Port Edgar Marina in South Queensferry, on the outskirts of Edinburgh.
The chocolatier, known for its arty labels and collaborations, is moving from its current base in Portobello to take over a 10,000sq ft retail warehouse next to marina shop Beacon, Scott’s restaurant and Port Edgar Watersports.
The warehouse, which was previously occupied by antiques retailer Shapes, is currently being fitted out to house production and office facilities and is expected to be completed by spring 2021.
A visitor centre tourist attraction is also being created to offer guided tours, tastings and an event space. It is expected to open by this summer.
First established in 2004, and taken over by Calum Haggerty in 2013, COCO Chocolatier sources its chocolate ethically ‘at origin’ from Colombia.
This process ensures that more wealth stays in the local economy. The team travel to Colombia each year to meet the cacao farmers and visit the production factory to make sure the chocolate is being sourced and produced responsibly.
When the chocolate arrives in Edinburgh, it is worked into a variety of products.
These include the collection of distinctively designed bars, which come in a range of flavours such as rhubarb & ginger, cold brew coffee and gin & tonic, and drinking chocolate.
COCO Chocolatier’s distinctive contemporary packaging is the result of collaborations with artists from Scotland and around the world.
Commenting on the move and the growth of COCO Chocolatier, director Calum Haggerty said: "We’ve been steadily growing for the past seven years and we have now reached a point where we have outgrown our current facilities in Portobello.
"We have been searching for a new home for the past year, and we were thrilled to find Port Edgar Marina.
"We chose Port Edgar because it's already a popular destination, and has useful transport links.
"But also, we fell in love with the beautiful views and the community spirit of our soon to be neighbouring businesses.
"The first times we visited the location we all got a very positive feeling and realised this was a place where we could soon feel at home.
"We are determined to create the perfect visitor experience of our chocolate factory, which is why we decided to do significant work to the buildings we are taking over.
"This is a huge project for us, and we all feel very passionate about it. We can't wait to move there in 2021".
The marina, which was established in 1978 by the former Lothian Regional Council, has been transformed into a thriving destination since being taken over in 2014 by Port Edgar Holdings Ltd, which is run by husband-and-wife team Russell and Cara Aitken.
Russell Aitken, managing director of Port Edgar, said: "We’re delighted to welcome COCO Chocolatier to the Port Edgar family.
"Their plans for the chocolate factory and the visitor centre look very exciting and we can’t wait for their doors to open later in the year."
Located on the Firth of Forth between the iconic Road and Rail Bridges and the new Queensferry Crossing, Port Edgar Marina is now a year-round destination for boat owners, sailing enthusiasts and watersports activities.