In 1973 Harbor Sweets' founder, Ben Strohecker, challenged himself to create "the best chocolates in the world, regardless of cost". The result from his kitchen in Marblehead, MA was Sweet Sloops, a sailboat shaped piece of almond butter crunch, covered in white chocolate dipped in dark chocolate and crushed pecans. Shortly after Ben moved the company out of his basement, a partnership started to emerge when a Salem State University sophomore, Phyllis LeBlanc, applied for a job as a part-time chocolate dipper at the tiny new chocolate factory on the Salem, Massachusetts waterfront.
As the business grew Phyllis took on more operational, financial and marketing responsibilities (wedging in a Master's Degree in Business Management, nights and weekends) and worked her way up to President of the Company. In 1998, Phyllis became owner of Harbor Sweets while Ben continued to serve as her mentor his until his passing in April 2016.
Harbor Sweets Today
Harbor Sweets has grown significantly since its humble beginnings in 1973. Today, the company employs close to 100 people, and has several product lines such as its Classics with original nautical designs of Sweet Sloops, Sand Dollars, and Marblehead Mints, its Dark Horse Chocolates, a special equestrian themed line for horse enthusiasts and Salt & Ayre, a line of truffles and salted chocolates. Gather is a purpose-driven line of small batch chocolates with local wildflower honey, inspired by the honeybee plight. In 2017 Harbor Sweets acquired Cocoa Santé, a line of hot cocoa mixes made with organic cocoa, all natural ingredients and responsibly sourced.
While the company has grown throughout the years, the policies that make Harbor Sweets unique have stayed the same - to make the "best chocolates in the world," using copper kettles, wooden paddles and the finest local ingredients, to embrace personal connections with retail and direct customers, to support the community and to create a workplace where all employees are treated with dignity and respect.
To this day, Harbor Sweets does not outsource and continues to work steadily from its only factory, a red brick, sea-side facility where an uncompromising commitment to quality is the norm.