Tasty Image Chocolate Franchise Opens in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina

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Arpan and Neha Kotecha are the newest owners of a Tasty Image franchise, a custom chocolate and gift shop that prints edible images on chocolate.

Arpan and Neha Kotecha are the newest owners of a Tasty Image franchise, a custom chocolate and gift shop that prints edible images on chocolate.

The young couple looked at various business models and products before deciding on chocolate and more specifically, Tasty Image. “We LOVE everything chocolate and we wanted to make it accessible to others so they can get the same pleasure out of it. When we saw a business built around it, we decided to give it a closer look.”

The couple are opening the first Tasty Image store in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina and are already considering expanding into Charleston or northern South Carolina.

Tasty Image, which is headquartered in Jupiter, Florida, is a relatively young company that is already enjoying international popularity as a unique startup business. Tasty Image shops take photos either in the store or from online orders, and print them onto a wide variety of chocolate products. The printer looks like a regular inkjet printer, but uses vibrant food coloring to recreate photos as high-resolution full color edible images.

Founded in 2003 by Derri Cerbone, a teacher and single mother, the original chocolate shop took off and attracted investors. “We call her ‘Cyclone Cerbone’,” laughs store manager Cindy Patterson. “She is such a whirlwind of energy and marketing ideas.”

Tasty Image now has 200 licensees and franchisees in 54 countries. “But there’s still so much room for new owners,” says Cerbone. “We haven’t even begun to chip away at the US market.”

Tasty Image marketing manager Mary Baker says, “I work primarily with food and wine clients, and every time I give someone one of my chocolate business cards, they’re as amazed as a kid with a new toy. I’d love to see a Tasty Image store or kiosk in every mall in America. It’s such a fun and versatile concept.”

When asked why they turned to a franchise, as opposed to a traditional start up business, Arpan replied, “There are many advantages to going with a franchise for someone who is starting their first business. Since there is a working model and store already out there making money, it feels like less of a risk. Also you don't feel too overwhelmed because somebody who is running the exact same business is guiding you along the whole process.”

The Kotechas studied the business model, consulted with family members, and made the nine hour drive from Mt. Pleasant to the Tasty Image flagship store in Jupiter, Florida. “We were curious about what the store would look like. And we had questions that all new business owners would ask, like how much capital will be required, business hours, store layout, and mobile applications for the business.”

“It was great to see the business in action. We learned about the various revenue streams and the whole process of owning a franchise. And how our life would completely change, including our schedules.”

“We were definitely excited and it was just like we imagined.”

The Kotechas plan to open their first Tasty Image location in October.

For more information about Tasty Image visit http://www.tastyimage.com, or contact marketing manager Mary Baker, mary (at) tastyimage (dot) com

For information about owning a Tasty Image franchise, contact Derri Cerbone, derri (at) tastyimage (dot) com

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