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Chocs away as award winning Lanarkshire business moves to quirky new premises

An award-winning pair of young entrepreneurs, who grew their luxury chocolate-making enterprise from a tiny workshop in South Lanarkshire, have used a cash award to acquire new premises in railway arches near Glasgow’s trendy Saltmarket.

Bare Bones Chocolate founders Lara Messer and Cameron Dixon, who were in May awarded £50,000 by Scottish EDGE in recognition of their firm’s high-growth potential, have used their grant/loan to move from their 200sq ft workshop in Rutherglen to premises that are four times bigger in the city’s Osborne Street.

And this weekend, they are for the first time opening retail space at the front of their two railway arches in a factory pop-up shop that will serve bean-to-cup hot chocolate.

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The couple’s move into the new space has allowed Bare Bones Chocolate to expand both its machinery and its workforce.

The seven-strong team will today and tomorrow be serving by the cup Bare Bones 68 per cent Dominican with Maldon Salt, with taste notes of roasted hazelnut, salted caramel and deep chocolate, and 70 per cent Madagascar Dark – a rich and fruity blend of maple syrup, raspberry and cherry.

Chocs away as award winning Lanarkshire business moves to quirky new premises
The new premises are in two railways arches on Osborne Street

Both are made using Bare Bones’ award-winning bean-to-bar chocolate, shaved into flakes, for incredible indulgence.

Also for sale at the pop-up shop will be the full collection of Bare Bones bars, hot chocolate bags and denim tote bags.

Named Bare Bones Chocolate by creators Lara and Cameron as a nod to their no additives, no emulsifiers promise, everything the brand represents speaks love and respect – not only for each other and the enterprise they are lovingly creating through good, old fashioned hard work, but also for the farmers on the other side of the world who produce the finest raw cacao beans which they turn into handcrafted, single-origin chocolate bars in micro batches.

Chocs away as award winning Lanarkshire business moves to quirky new premises
Bare Bones sources the finest cacao beans

Those bars, which have won a clutch of awards from the prestigious Academy of Chocolate, pay homage to cacao, which directors Lara and Cameron respectfully refer to as “one of the most complex, delicious and fascinating foods in the world.”

Their humble production line began in Lara’s parents’ garage in the village of Eaglesham, using her dad’s Tin Donkey Coffee roasters.

When friends enthused about the test batches they were invited to taste, they got to work on designing the packaging.

Chocs away as award winning Lanarkshire business moves to quirky new premises
Lara with a slab of chocolate for flaking

Driven by their love of the chocolate-making process and the opportunity to take control of their own destiny as business owners, the 28-year-olds left their jobs in mechanical engineering and food photography to launch Bare Bones Chocolate in November 2018.

The manufacturing process moved to the tiny Rutherglen workshop in 2020.

Bare Bones Chocolate bars are wrapped by hand in Vegware compostable sheets and sealed with a signature ‘Handcrafted in Glasgow’ label.

Chocs away as award winning Lanarkshire business moves to quirky new premises
Lara and Cameron have refined the chocolate making process

Their boxes – which are made from recycled coffee cups – are also labelled, stamped and folded by hand and packed in recycled and compostable materials.

In addition to their Scottish EDGE cash prize, the pair are also receive invaluable, on-going mentoring support and advice to help them achieve the growth potential of their brand.

At the virtual awards ceremony earlier this year, Bare Bones Chocolate was singled out for praise and congratulated by CEO of Scottish EDGE, Evelyn McDonald, who delighted Lara and Cameron by revealing theirs is her favourite brand.

Chocs away as award winning Lanarkshire business moves to quirky new premises
The bars’ wrappers are plant-based

Enthusing about their new premises, Lara said: “We have just moved in to two beautiful railway arches on Osborne Street, near Saltmarket.

“They are so quirky, with no straight lines in sight.

“They and are perfect for us, as the location is so vibrant. We have lovely neighbours, too, including Zilch vegan deli, Fakie skateboarding shop, Infinity Yoga Studios and The Modern Institute Gallery.”

Chocs away as award winning Lanarkshire business moves to quirky new premises
Cameron on a visit to Cacao Farm

The Bare Bones pop-up shop at 7/9 Osborne Street, G1 5QN, will be open today, tomorrow and Sunday from 10am to 4pm.

Cameron, Lara and their team will hold a Halloween pop-up on October 29, 30 and 31, when they will be dressed up as the cast of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

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