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Shawn Askinosie leads Askinosie Chocolate, which Forbes credited for its profit-sharing agreements with foreign farmers.
Shawn Askinosie leads Askinosie Chocolate, which Forbes credited for its profit-sharing agreements with foreign farmers.

Askinosie Chocolate lands on Forbes small-business list

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Springfield-based Askinosie Chocolate LLC is among 25 businesses on Forbes’ new America’s best small companies list.

The privately held companies on the list, which is not ranked, were determined by metrics including industry accolades, calculated revenue growth, community recognition, financial health for at least 10 years, employee interaction with management and strength of leadership, according to Forbes.com.

“It has had the opportunity to grow much faster, but its leaders decided to focus on being great rather than just big,” Forbes contributor Bo Burlingham wrote in an article of the companies on the list.

The only Missouri company on the list, the 17-employee Askinosie Chocolate had revenue of $2 million as of this month, according to its Forbes profile.

The company founded in 2005 by attorney Shawn Askinosie gained points with Forbes for its profit-sharing arrangements with farmers in Ecuador, Tanzania, Honduras and the Philippines. Farmers are included in a distribution pool of 10 percent of company profits, as well as a system where they receive a percentage of final sales of the Askinosie chocolate bars using their ingredients.

Forbes also credited company CEO Askinosie, who often makes trips abroad to provide suppliers translated copies of company financial books. In January, Askinosie visited Davao in the Philippines.

In September, Askinosie Chocolate’s three exclusive bars for Target Corp.’s (NYSE: TGT) Made to Matter-Handpicked by Target initiative debut in 400 of the retailer’s stores.

At the company’s 514 E. Commercial St. headquarters, Askinosie Chocolate plays Jack Stack’s open-book management system Great Game of Business and the chocolatier engages with employees through such activities as yoga and prayer, according to Springfield Business Journal archives.

The company also has taken home honors at the annual Good Food Awards ceremony, sometimes nicknamed the Oscars of food, and works with students via its Chocolate University program.

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