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JOEL Joel's Blog

The Cocoa Store


The Cocoa Store 1

By the time you read this blog entry most of the chocolate bars in the picture above will have been devoured by me, Joel Moskowitz. I happened on this store by chance on the way home after having lunch one Friday. All of these bars were purchased in a wild fling by me, Joel Moskowitz. Normally I would not mention this extravagance. But as a retailer, there are lessons to be learned, and as a fan of chocolate, I am happy to spread the news about this shop. I should mention from the outset that I wandered into the store on my own, and paid for all the bars with my own hard earned cash.

The Cocoa Store 2

On the sixth floor of a building on Broadway between 18th and 19th streets in Mnhattan is a small retail store that reignites my faith in retail. The Cocoa Store is a small shop that is part of a performance space in a wonderfully well appointed 6th floor loft in Manhattan. I had never heard of the shop but I saw a sign at the street level that piqued my curiosity. In a world dominated by anonymous sales from Amazon, it is a true pleasure to find an oasis of passion that guides the retail selection and experience. I believe strongly that the passion for woodworking and tools that we have at TFWW provides a meaningful service to our customers and is one of the reasons you come patronize our store. Pepi, the owner of The Cocoa Store, does the exact same thing for chocolate. What guides her selection of chocolate bars that are sourced from all over the world is her passion -- for exploring, for chocolate, and for implementing her elegant vision of what the retail experience should be. This to me is the future of retail. Amazon and stores fueled by algorithms will commoditize lots and lots of products and take the fun out of shopping. Passionate merchants will put it back. What makes the experience for me are the engagement at the store and the curation of the merchandise. While I shopped in person and that is an important part of the experience, The Cocoa Store also has a website. By the way, any retailer that sells on Amazon will tell you that Amazon takes a mighty chunk out of each sale so buying from the retailers direct website helps them out.
I should also mention our old neighbor, Chocolat Moderne from our Manhattan days. The factory-and-shop is in our old building on w. 20th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues. Joan, the founder of Chocolat Moderne, is an artisan chocolatier who makes visually stunning chocolate arrangements. We outgrew our Manhattan space a long time ago but I do have a pang leaving Chocolat Moderne behind. Chocolat Moderne sells online; the retail experience was like getting a peek behind the curtain.
Both shops offered the perfect antidote to soulless selling.
The Cocoa Store 3
Join the conversation
08/11/2021 Michael O’Brien
Thanks Joel. As one of your long time customers, I enjoy reading your blogs and the special one like this. Since I do not live in NY, but in the South, my purchases from them would be in the colder months. I do love my dark chocolate everyday.
08/11/2021 Michael Rodgers

I am very glad you posted this and especially agree with "soulless Amazon." We need to support small retailers such as Tools For Working Wood, especially in these COVID times. They are truly the soul of America.

08/11/2021 seth godin
Well done, Joel! supporting real chocolate is not only delicious, it supports the farmers, some of the poorest and hardest working folks on earth.
08/11/2021 Don Hutcheson
Another inspiring detour. Thank you for your passion in doing things the right way, instead of just the most lucrative.
08/11/2021 Joe Samalin
Dear Joel,

As someone with the same name and email as BUT IS NOT your employee Joe, I think it would be great if some of those chocolates made it back to the shop and were shared with the chocolate lovers here.

I mean there.


Joe (but totally not that Joe)
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The opinions expressed in this blog are those of the blog's author and guests and in no way reflect the views of Tools for Working Wood.
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