The Chocolate Box is a family owned Australian business started by Rose and Richard Adler. In 1958, The Adlers bought a chocolate shop called “Smile Away Chocolates”, situated on Camberwell’s famous Burke Road shopping strip.
The previous owner, Miss Reed, showed the hard-working couple how to make her delicious chocolates from her small back-of-shop kitchen. These chocolates have evolved to become a regular feature of our gourmet (self selection) range.
The Adlers’ daughter, Marion, can remember working in the store at age thirteen: mixing fondants, pouring them into chocolate bases, and piping completed chocolate with a decorative initial. The chocolates were then laid out for sale on trays behind the glass counter.
Rose and Richard fitted their store with air-conditioning in 1960, becoming the first store in Melbourne to do so. They also imported popular international chocolate brands into their store, introducing their customers to the exciting new gourmet tastes and chocolate-making techniques coming out of Europe.
The owners of The Chocolate Box still research overseas chocolate trends to this day, but since they decided to refocus on their own label products in 1990, the percentage of Australian made chocolate* in their stores increased to over 90% of their range.
In addition to the delicious fine quality chocolate, Richard and Rose Adler believed that customer service and a hands-on approach were key to The Chocolate Box’s success.
Since Gary and Marion took over the business from their parents, those principles are still at the core of The Chocolate Box’s retail philosophy. Product sampling, boutique hand-packaged products, complimentary gift wrapped assortments, and staff product knowledge are just a few of services offered by The Chocolate Box.
The Chocolate Box currently has 7 retail stores in Melbourne, and a store at Sydney airport. The online store went live in 2004. With delivery services Australia wide, The Chocolate Box is now covering the whole of Australia in chocolate!
Marion Adler Bishop came back to The Chocolate Box in 1987, fresh from running her business overseas. Her enthusiasm for developing The Chocolate Box brand revitalised The Chocolate Box's "own label" product range, increasing it from a small percentage of the range to the business' primary focus.
The Chocolate Box knew it would take time to build trust and win over their customers when they started to refocus on their "own label" assortments, bars and blocks in 1990. Starting with a few significant product lines, the own label range was introduced gradually over the next few years, with great success. (The Adlers and Carousel assortments were crafted from The Chocolate Box’s own blend of couverture chocolate the “superfine”).
As a result of the success of own label, more Australian made products were added to The Chocolate Box stores than ever before, replacing well-known imported brands. Within a few years of introduction, The Chocolate Box’s range would be made up of approximately 80% Australian made products. Now the range is over 90% Australian made.
Today, The Chocolate Box’s range consists of boxed assortments, panned/enrobed chocolate sweets and nuts, blocks, confectionery, chocolate novelties and more.
The Chocolate Box’s online store carries over a hundred own label products, which retain much of the boutique hand-applied style of packaging that is so reminiscent of the company’s earliest days.
Many people in their 30s - 60s remember being served by Mrs Adler, who was always smiling and perfectly groomed. She would offer the smallest child and every adult a sweet treat to try. Customers who came in as children now bring their children, or grandchildren, and are thrilled when they are served by one of Mrs Adlers grandchildren.
Many remember Mr Adler for his involvement in the retail community of Camberwell. He was president of the Chamber of Commerce for over 2 decades, and was always ready to offer new retailers his advice and assistance on settling into the area.
Many teenagers had their first job at The Chocolate Box and were given a great example of what could be achieved by dedication and hard work.
Many of our seasonal store posters are taken from the Adler family's albums. (From left to right.) Our Easter campaign features Mrs Rose Adler as a child (front right) with her siblings. Richard Adler is featured in our Father's Day poster (centre), pictured here as a young man in Czechoslovakia. Mrs Rose Adler is featured in our Mother's Day campaign (far right). Bonus points if you can guess who is in the pram. (Hint, see above).