Summer has ended and with that brings the beginning of school and seemingly never ending work. All of which can bring along additional stress, and in turn empty chocolate wrappers and binge-eating sessions.

It may not lead to the best choices, but chocolate sure feels like the answer sometimes.

With a rising chocolate industry, the city of Madison has you covered for any of your chocolate needs. Madison features local businesses like Candinas Chocolatier, Madison Chocolate Co., CocoVaa and Red Elephant Chocolates.

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The small businesses are in favor of many Madison residents, but some question their effect on Madison’s economy and job market.

University of Wisconsin assistant economics professor Enghin Atalay said it’s important to discern between young businesses and small businesses when analyzing Madison’s job market. Popular perception and policymakers believe private sector jobs increase economic performance.

Even on campus there are plenty of choices of chocolate.
Emilie Burditt/The Badger Herald

“While it is true that many young businesses tend to be small and vice versa, most small businesses remain small throughout their existence and do not create many jobs,” Atalay said. “On average, large businesses tend to be better managed, more productive and produce products that consumers find appealing.”

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Atalay warned, however, with too many large businesses, consumers and workers could suffer.

The local Madison chocolatier businesses are small, but they bring in a lot of customers — especially customers looking for high-quality products, even if for a higher price, Atalay said.

Within the vicinity of the Capitol building lies even more chocolate.
Emilie Burditt/The Badger Herald

That said grocery stores are still the most popular place for people to buy their chocolates.

“Indeed, the way these [large] businesses got big in the first place was to be exceptionally productive, with an appealing product,” Atalay said.

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Although grocery stores may target a larger audience and have the convenience of offering more products, the percentage of chocolate customers looking for high-quality chocolates tend to purchase the dessert at local confectioneries.

There are influences as to what determines why customers shop at local confectioneries, especially for how much chocolate is purchased in the first place. One hypothesized reason is the Wisconsin weather: Following Thanksgiving is when local chocolate shops bring in the most revenue — up to 80 percent of their yearly profit.

Syovata Edari, owner of the Madison confectionery CocoVaa, said Winter holidays, such as Christmas and Valentine’s Day, are another factor in chocolate purchases. The desire for high-quality chocolate is in high demand during these holidays for gifting purposes.

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Additionally, the influence of health can decide whether a customer shops at a local chocolatier or a grocery store. Madison is becoming a more health-conscious city, which influences some people to look for dark chocolates over chocolates with lower amounts of cocoa since dark chocolate is typically associated with health benefits.

“In sum, there is a balance: for the most part, a policy that favored small firms over larger ones (or large firms over smaller ones) would be unwise,” Atalay said. “But there are potentially critical dangers from having certain firms dominate the market.”

It’s important to support both small and large businesses for a healthy economy, just how eating in balance is important too. In a sense, make sure to eat your balance of both dark and milk chocolates all year long to support the city of Madison.