The Chocolate Gallery, in the Calle Real Shopping Center, has reached an exciting milestone. On April 21, 2015 we celebrated our 35th anniversary in business. Now it's been over 35 years that Tim Johnson & Karen Kegg have been making chocolates in Santa Barbara and folks here have been able to choose excellent quality chocolates in all kinds of shapes and sizes.
Karen grew up in the business in Houston with her father's store, Kegg's Candies in Meyerland. When we first opened in the Granada Building back in 1980, people had not seen much chocolate in shapes other than Easter Bunnies. That's because originally chocolate was molded in expensive metal molds. With the advent of FDA approved plastics, that all changed. We came in making pianos, tennis rackets, cars etc. That really got people's attention. But what really kept the customers returning was not only the shapes, but the fact that the chocolate was of superlative quality. Professional cooks and bakers quickly discovered that we were featuring Peter's Chocolate. There is none finer available and our reputation for being the experts in the field took off. Peters caters to small chocolatiers and does not make a small consumer bar.
Back in 1980, Karen and her husband Tim made all the confections in view of our clientele at their Granada Building location on State Street. People were fascinated to realize that candy doesn't just magically appear in stores by being delivered in a truck. In fact we were making all the chocolates on the premises and we still do. Now, though, our kitchen is in the Calle Real Center, Goleta. We had quickly outgrown our small manufacturing space downtown and with the opening of the Goleta store in 1982, we were able to expand our line of boxed chocolates. Sales today come about half from these assorted treats and half from the novelty shapes.
Tim leaves most of the day-to-day operations to Karen these days as he pursues his 3rd career now, that of Realtor® with Keller Williams Realty Santa Barbara. Still, we enjoy our long time presence in this area. Our customers have watched us raise a family and we have seen 2nd and 3rd generations coming in. In a time when 'Mom & Pop' operations are fading out, the secret to the success of The Chocolate Gallery is unquestionably, the chocolate. Our customers know a good chocolate when they taste it and they'll go to great extremes to get it. The line most commonly heard in here is "Don't ever go out of business." Because we have our own chocolate addiction to feed, we don't intend to. Can't imagine getting along without a reliable source of Texas Crunch and Chocolate Explosion!
Our sincere thanks for your support,
Karen Kegg & Tim Johnson
Owners & Candymakers