Blood, sweat and community support: Cocoa West turns 15

As Joanne Mogridge tells it, Bowen Island was probably the 14th place that she and her husband Carlos Vela-Martinez visited on their journey to decide where to plant their roots and set up a business. Their criterial were: beautiful, natural, sense of community, veterinarian, free parking, affordable homes and a special quality of life. Nelson and Salt Spring were top choices, she says. On July 6, the delicious business they set up, Cocoa West, turns 15.

“It’s an amazing feat really, if you consider the resident population of 3500 people,” says Mogridge. “Statistically a business like ours needs at least 15,000 people in order to get by. Yet we’ve managed to survive and to thrive, we’ve grown from a one-person sole proprietorship company to one with eleven employees.”

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She says that achievement has taken a phenomenal amount of work, dedication, perseverance, stamina, diversification and creativity.

“And a huge amount of loyalty and support form our employees and community,” adds Mogridge. “Without all of you we would not be here, no matter how much sweat and tears were poured into it.”

In honour of the community that’s held up Cocoa West, Joanne, Carlos and their daughter Eden are throwing a community and chocolate fundraiser:

Thursday July 6th 7-9pm in Artisan Square. Tickets are $75 available at Cocoa West. All proceeds will go to the Bowen Island Community Foundation.

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