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MU Extension in Central Region: Patric Chocolate

For Central Missouri business, chocolate brings sweet success

photo: Patric Chocolate

Alan Patric McClure pours chocolate at Patric Chocolate in Columbia, Mo.

Alan McClure is the brains behind Patric Chocolate, a mid-Missouri business that brought the gospel of better sweets to mouths across the U.S. and small business success to the community.

McClure's commitment to a better artisan chocolate bar transformed his business from a one-man operation into one that sold a quarter of a million dollars worth of chocolate in 2011, doubling his sales from 2010.

The MU Small Business Technology and Development Center (SBTDC) helped McClure build a business framework to set realistic goals and make accurate financial projections.

"When Alan came to our center and I started working with him, he knew about chocolate, but he didn't know much about business," said Virginia Wilson, counselor with MU Extension's SBTDC. "We help small businesses like Patric Chocolate with one-to-one counseling, take them through the process of writing a business plan, looking at the financial startup costs, and estimating sales and expense projections to decide whether a business can be profitable."

When McClure began the business in 2006, he started with just an idea. He was hooked on the concept, and spent much of his first year perfecting his process. Wilson helped McClure refine his business plan, using financial tools to develop realistic goals that took operational costs and cash flow into account. This work helped Patric Chocolate secure loans to get the business up and running.

photo: Patric Chocolate

The Patric Chocolate packaging was updated in 2010. The bars have won several food awards.

"SBTDC really helped me through some tight spots to make my business as successful as it could be," McClure said. "Once, my business account was down to $300 and my entire staff had quit. I worked my tail off, and the business continued."

Now McClure and his company produce 10 varieties of chocolate bars that sell online and in more than 40 local stores in Columbia. His bars now sell to consumers in 49 states and internationally.