Company News

Gorant Celebrates New Partnership with Hallmark

BOARDMAN, Ohio — With the holiday season commencing, more and more individuals are looking to buy gifts and Joe Miller realized a way to help alleviate some stress from his customers’ already hectic shopping schedules.

Gorant Chocolatier, 8301 Market St., has joined greeting card giant Hallmark to open a Hallmark Gold Crown department at its factory store.

“We recognized the opportunity to bring two iconic brands together, and we realized it would really enhance our customers’ shopping experience,” said Miller who also owns the Canfield Gorant store.

Gorant Chocolatier held a ribbon cutting  Friday to celebrate its partnership with Hallmark, displaying a new setup of the store and passing out free samples of its dark chocolate covered pretzel bites.

“We’re very excited because Gorant is such a great name in the marketplace and to bring Hallmark Gold Crown to [Gorant] customers has been a great opportunity for us,” said Ken Christian, regional market development manager for Hallmark.

Gorant Chocolatier dates its roots to 1949, when brothers Sam and Charles Gorant founded Gorant Chocolate in Youngstown. Today, Gorant employs 45 workers to make their candy  – 27 varieties of chocolate are used to blend the recipes– every day at the factory.

Hallmark has operated for more than 100 years and offers greeting cards, holiday ornaments and other gifts.

The biggest challenge in this transition, Miller said, has been the hasty remodeling process. He decided to partner with Hallmark in August, which gave him only  a few months before the holiday season. Repainting the inside and outside of the factory store, and making room to display all the new products, are just some of the changes that had to be made.

Store manager Renee Thompson said the ability to offer both brands  in one place saves shoppers a lot of time.

“It’s the perfect one-stop shop. You can get your cards, candy and gift wrap here,” she added.

The new addition to the store offers are “a lot of great products,” Thompson said. “Caramel pecan turtles and French mints are favorites from Gorant, but Christmas ornaments from Hallmark are a great add-on to go with the boxes of candy we sell.”

One-third of Gorant’s business is from sales at the stores – it operates six in Boardman, Canfield, Austintown, Warren and Alliance a – with the business with other companies such as Giant Eagle or Skinny Me Chocolate, headquartered in Arizona.

Christmas and Easter are equally the biggest holidays for Gorant. With the addition of the Hallmark items, sales have increased the past couple of weeks for Halloween, Thompson noted.

In the next year, Miller would like to display a “healthier for you section” at his Gorant stores that would feature more products made with  varieties  of chocolate that could be sugar-free, gluten-free, organic, or contain healthful ingredients such as chia or flax seeds.

Hallmark’s Christian, who has been with the Hallmark 30  years, said he hopes to see the company partner with more Gorant locations in the next 10 to 15 months.

Pictured: Gorant Chocolatier owners Joe and Angela Miller and Hallmark regional market development manager Ken Christian celebrate the launch of Hallmark’s Gold Crown line in the Boardman Gorant store. 

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.