Atlanta chocolatiers infuse personal values into their small business
Photo Credit: Ben Getz
Without a trace of experience in the food industry, Matt Weyandt and his family sailed into the world of chocolate and launched Xocolatl in late 2014. Although their business is based in Atlanta, Matt and his wife Elaine discovered the wonders of chocolate and chocolate-making processes in the Costa Rican jungles.
Matt and Elaine never imagined that their professional lives would completely change after moving briefly to Costa Rica in 2013. What initially started out as an adventure to get fresh air and unplug from their careers in politics and international relief work sparked an interest in entrepreneurship. They now source and sell single-origin chocolate in Atlanta and across the United States.
The budding entrepreneurs launched Xocolatl with the idea of infusing their personal values into their business, focusing on using fair trade practices and offering robust benefits.
“Building this craft food business is a natural but indirect extension of our previous careers. Our sourcing model is based on quality, sustainability and ethics, delivering delicious chocolate that our customers will enjoy but also feel great about eating. We are committed to leveraging Xocolatl as a force for social good in our local community and beyond.”
In their efforts to be their own force for social good, Matt and Elaine offer an extensive array of benefits for their employees, including 65% of healthcare coverage premiums for full-time employees, and offer paid time off and maternity and paternity leave, among other benefits. Although these costs put a burden on their bottom lines, they are more than willing to provide critical benefits to their employees, which became especially important during the pandemic. Matt and Elaine access health coverage through Healthcare.gov, the individual health marketplace, because it provides more affordable options.
Finding access to quality and affordable healthcare may seem difficult these days, especially in Georgia, considered among the 10 worst states for healthcare. But as ACA enrollees, Matt and Elaine want to encourage other business owners to look at the healthcare options on the individual marketplace because the plans offered are cost effective.
Matt shares, “Healthcare is a cornerstone benefit for us. And we make all possible efforts to ensure our employees have access to the benefits they need, which incidentally has improved employee retention and morale. We hope that in the future we’ll be able to fully cover health insurance for our employees because that’s what is most important to them.”