Baladi - Follow ups
An Antigonish, N.S., chocolate company founded by former Syrian refugees is set to double in size, again.
When the Hadhad family arrived in Canada two years ago, they were determined to rebuild their chocolate business that was bombed in their home country.
Just weeks after their arrival, they started making chocolate in their kitchen and selling it at the local farmer's market.
Their story has evolved into a sort of fairy tale.
"We started with 200 pieces of chocolate a week. Now we are producing hundreds of thousands of pieces and chocolate bars a month," said Tareq Hadhad, the eldest son and spokesperson for the family.
Their company, Peace By Chocolate, now employs 25 people, and is in the process of hiring 25 more. Demand is so high, the chocolate makers now work either day or evening shifts to keep production going.
"Our major responsibility as immigrants to this country is not to take, but to contribute. It's always about that. We didn't come here to take anyone's job. We came here to create jobs," said Hadhad.
On the day they landed at the Halifax airport, the Hadhad family vowed to give back to Antigonish after the community raised thousands of dollars to move them from their refugee camp.
"They sponsored my family without even knowing us," said Hadhad. "They didn't care about our religion, our background, our ethnicity."
The family saw employment as a way to help their adopted home.
"We know that so many people leave the town to either Halifax or to Ontario or to the West to find jobs. One of the first employees that we hired, he was in Alberta and we brought him back to town to work."
Their story went viral when they donate some of their profits to Fort McMurray after it was devastated by wildfire. They've been profiled internationally, and have been featured in speeches by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
This year, the company became even more popular when it released a series of chocolate bars that celebrated pride. Some were packaged in the colours of the rainbow flag, others featured the colours of the trans, lesbian and bisexual flags. Hadhad said demand for those products sparked responses from around the world.
"That's the first time, I see on the website, people are contacting me from all over the world. Spain, Nigeria, from Germany, New Zealand."
Source: CBC News