YOUR BUSINESS AUTHORITY

Springfield, MO

Askinosie Chocolate Chief Operating Officer John Taylor talks about the process behind creating a new origin line.
SBJ photo by WES HAMILTON
Askinosie Chocolate Chief Operating Officer John Taylor talks about the process behind creating a new origin line.

COO: Askinosie Chocolate ‘comfortable’ with 4 origin bars

Posted online

Askinosie Chocolate LLC has shifted into a “comfortable number” of origin bars after the recent release of its fourth, said company Chief Operating Officer John Taylor. Origin bars refer to the area where the cocoa beans are sourced.

Taylor — who’s held the job for a year after working as executive director of Drury University’s Edward Jones Center for Entrepreneurship — said the company’s mission since it was founded in 2006 by Shawn Askinosie was to have three to four origins.

“You can’t go above five,” said Taylor, speaking this morning for Springfield Business Journal’s 12 People live interview series. “Three to four is the number that has been settled on at this point as a comfortable number.

“It provides diversity of products but it also provides for management time.”

Askinosie Chocolate last week released its Amazonia chocolate bar in partnership with a female-led farm in Zamora, Ecuador, within the Amazon rainforest.

Taylor said now that the company has reached its goal of four origins, a fifth may be a stretch.

“Getting an origin, that is a little bit of detective work, a lot of gut, a lot of instinct, a lot of who do you know, a lot of who could you know, a lot of travel, a lot of stress,” he said. “The decision to go with the fifth is not just the decision to add a line.

“It is the decision to invest a ridiculous amount of time and stress.”

Change to COO
In his first year with Askinosie Chocolate, Taylor said he’s learned not just about the chocolate-making business, but about what it means to serve as a COO.

Taylor has searched for books on the topic, but came up empty. Largely, he said, it’s anecdotal depending on the workplace, but some lessons apply everywhere.

While Shawn Askinosie was finalizing the details on the Amazonia bar, for instance, Taylor was facilitating the day-to-day operations of the company’s Commercial Street factory.

“My role is to allow those projects to be going on without a lot of distraction,” Taylor said, noting he must “anticipate problems before they become problems.”

At Askinosie Chocolate, Taylor’s job as COO includes finance work, taking care of factory problems and human relations.

Taylor is the man on the ground in Springfield when Askinosie is traveling globally to connect with the company’s farmer-partners. In fact, Taylor’s role doesn’t include travel.

“There’s enough of an adventure at the factory,” Taylor said.

Comments

No comments on this story |
Please log in to add your comment
Editors' Pick

Robotics in Waiting: OTC seeks pole position as advanced manufacturing educator

The move would come with a new property tax levied on residents of regional school districts.

Most Read
SBJ Live logo
MOST-WATCHED VIDEOS
Training Bootcamp: Training Needs Assessment

All workplace problems have root causes. When will training be the solution? Sherry Coker, OTC Center for Workforce Development business development director, provides you the framework of a training needs assessment, which will uncover the root causes of a workplace problem and help you determine if training is the solution. A download is available at workforce.otc.edu/bootcamp with a complete outline for an effective training needs assessment. This is sponsored content. Duration: 2:29

Don’t Micro-Manage Are you guilty of micromanaging your employees? “If we’re going to require them to be that educated when they come to work for us, should we not let them do their job? They should know so much …
Seek Wisdom from Many “My whole life goal is to change the world, one connection at a time,” says Keisha Mabry. Mabry, who is an author, speaker, and social entrepreneur, says she had a “quarter-life crisis” and …
DNA Uncovers Best Version of You A simple swab of the inside of your cheek can lead to optimizing your nutrition and fitness program, personal medication profile, in addition to your ancestry. According to Austin O’Reilly, owner …
Booked - Go Back to the Basics “You’ve gotta go back to the basics,” says Larry Peterson, Executive Director, Habitat for Humanity of Springfield Missouri. Peterson says he gains leadership advice from General Ulysses S. …