Just Honestly Good Chocolates
Dana Dooley has quite an impressive résumé. She has her Master of Business Administration from Stanford and worked for years as a marketing executive for several Silicon Valley firms. You might ask why someone in the technology field now owns a chocolate company. It was during a business trip in 1982 to Switzerland when Dooley fell in love with handmade chocolates.
Shortly after her trip, she began making her own confections and sharing them with friends and family, who gave her raving reviews. A few years later, Dooley and her husband, who just received his degree in Oenology, decided to launch a chocolate business and start a winery, respectively, in the beautiful Willamette Valley.
“Because what pairs better with chocolate than wine?” Dooley smiles when she explains how this pairing enhances both flavors of the chocolate and wine.
Pairings Created with Partners
Dooley enjoys the synergy of coupling wine with chocolate and has partnered with nearly 70 local wineries to develop custom wine-friendly chocolates. Although Dooley and her husband frequently collaborate, neither of them is involved in the operations of the other spouse’s business. Why the name Honest? The name arises from one of the store’s core values: Honesty.
“We are an ethical business who likes to be honest with our customers,” says Dooley. Her vision was to create handmade, affordable chocolates that don’t have to be dressed up in a fancy box to taste excellent.
“We aren’t a factory, so all of our products are fresh and hand-dipped,” she explains.
Dooley wishes to express to her customers that this is not the type of chocolate shop where you can eat an entire box in one sitting. The business model for Honest was designed from the start to have a central kitchen supporting a number of retail and chocolate dipping locations. Part of her decision to move to the McMinnville area and open a chocolate business, which has expanded to locations in Carlton and Newberg, is because of the local agriculture.
“The wonderful thing about this area is the ability to use local ingredients. Many of the nuts, fruits, salt and honey come from local providers around the Willamette Valley area,” she says.
Community Support Matters
Dooley says she enjoys how the McMinnville community is supportive of small business owners and often look out for and help one another. She enjoys the tight-knit feel of McMinnville as well as the authenticity of downtown but says that she would like to see more residents of McMinnville visiting the popular and well-known Third Street.
“I would like to see more local residents visit the small boutiques and businesses on Third Street because we are a part of why downtown is so special,” she explains.
Dooley also notes that if and when McMinnville grows, she believes it will evolve and fit whatever changes that occur.