Confections with Convictions

Dale AndersonThe concept

  • Making wholesome, delicious, high quality confections;
  • Using organically grown, fair trade and locally sourced ingredients whenever possible;
  • Treating customers, employees and suppliers in an honest, friendly and professional manner;
  • Supporting environmental stewardship through choices of ingredients, processes and packaging;
  • Providing fair compensation for employees and for those whose labors provide our ingredients and supplies;
  • Hiring people who have barriers to regular employment; and
  • Working to make the business, community and world more peaceful, just, joyful and environmentally sustainable.                                      

The entrepreneur

Dale Anderson worked for years counseling young people who had been involved with the courts. He began to think that he could be more effective by providing them with a second chance through tangible work experience, especially for youth with convictions. By helping youth learn a trade, Anderson’s primary focus is to help young workers confront systemic issues such as trying to complete their education. To date, about 20 young people have benefitted from Anderson's mentorship as volunteers or employees, becoming skilled about making chocolates. Together, they have made over 200,000 pieces of chocolate and truffles.

Anderson’s product is high-quality chocolate made from as many local ingredients from local farmers as possible to support the Kalamazoo economy. Anderson is also committed to using Fair Trade chocolate, to extend to those who produce the cacao a measure of the systemic change and opportunity he hopes to offer his staff. In addition to traditional favorites, Dale creates new flavors to satisfy his own creativity. He has reinvented truffles and knows instinctively what works. Flavors change seasonally and include Dark Chocolate Truffles (Mexican Hot Chocolate, Orange Cardamom, Raspberry, Honeycomb, Bittersweet, Ginger, Jasmine Green Tea, Mint, Vegan Coconut Milk, 70% Ecuadorean with Cocoa Nibs), Milk Chocolate Truffles(Hazelnut, Curry, Peanut Butter & Honey, Damson Plum, Bailey’s Irish Cream, Pumpkin Spice) and White Chocolate (Michigan Tart Cherry, Lemon, Honey Lavender, Walnut Maple Cranberry).

While Anderson is pleased he is able to treat his customers to a higher quality of chocolate, he defines impact in terms of helping youth. His biggest success story is about the turnaround of a current employee who had dropped out of school and was living in the Gospel Mission . Through the foundation provided by employment at Dale’s shop, te employee has ccompleted the GED requirements as well as two semesters at Kalamazoo Valley Community College and is living in an apartment. Now pursuing business and psychology degrees, the employee hopes to be the director of a residential treatment facility for youth.

As for the future, Dales hopes that Confections with Convictions can expand its offerings to broader markets. This will allow him to hire more kids, thus providing them with more opportunities. Dale has settled in to being a small business owner and chocolatier.

Address: Suite 101, 116 W. Crosstown Parkway, Kalamazoo MI 49001

Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Tuesday through Friday), 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday