Hotel Chocolat Turn their Leeds Store into their Flagship venue
CITY DWELLER MAGAZINE MEET SAM LONG, THE STORE MANAGER OF HOTEL CHOCOLAT’S TRINITY LEEDS STORE TO FIND OUT ABOUT THEIR EXCITING CHANGES
Hi Sam, can you tell us a bit about your background at Hotel Chocolat so far?
I started at Hotel Chocolat five years ago in October as a Christmas temp, it’s kind of epic that I started off as a temp and now I’m the manager of one of our busiest stores! Within a year of starting, I was the assistant manager of the Aberdeen store and afterwards, Hotel Chocolat gave me the opportunity to go out and spend some time in our Copenhagen stores over Christmas which was phenomenally exciting.
At that point I moved into a marketing role looking over the north stores, which is basically everywhere above London. I was still based in Leeds because geographically, Leeds is basically in the centre of the UK and eventually the opportunity came up to become the Store Manager here and I’d kind of fallen in love with Leeds so I started managing the retail side of Roast + Conch in July 2016. Over the last year, our Trinity Leeds store has seen great retail growth with us being the best preforming store over Christmas last year which was a great achievement.
So what are some of the exciting changes that are taking place at Hotel Chocolat?
We are relaunching our School of Chocolate which will be available every week from Thursday until Sunday. We’re going to do up to four events a day, we’re going to be hosting children parties all through the holidays and weekends, we’re expanding our cafe and much more. We’re launching exciting new products, such as our Hotel Chocolat Brownies which we now offer 6 different types of, they’re all gluten free too! We also have loyalty cards where your fifth drink is free so that means your hot chocolate is free every Friday…
For me, it’s just about showing people that it’s going to be different; we’re not just sticking a lick of paint on the walls, we’re actually changing what we do. We’ve been known as Roast + Conch for a few years now but we’re restoring the Hotel Chocolat name and we’re going to be the biggest cafe in the country and the only store that stocks everything that we can offer.
We are now the flagship for the entire company and that’s really exciting for Leeds. As a business, we know that Leeds is a phenomenal city so instead of putting our best store in London, we’re putting it in the centre of Leeds.
People in Leeds want to use our new space to relax, not just for popping in quickly and having a hot chocolate while feeling like they have to be rushed. We’re making sure they feel like they’re taken care of. With the events, it’s obviously a bit more formal but it’s still about making sure it’s low key and relaxed. For example, our ‘Make Your Own Chocolate Bar’ is all about getting a bit hedonistic; we open up a few bottles of prosecco and get loads of chocolate out to taste!
Sounds right down our street! Why not try out Hotel Chocolat for yourself? Just head to Trinity Leeds, 55 Boar Lane, LS1 5EL to find out for yourself! You can also find out more by heading to their website: hotelchocolat.com/uk