These three words together should get your attention: chocolate garage sale.
It’s happening now through Saturday at Emily’s Chocolates, probably one of the biggest chocolate and tea companies you might never have heard about. The company name is officially AMES International, but sells its chocolates and confections under the label Emily’s Chocolates.
The Fife-based company operates out of an unassuming warehouse with a retail outlet open to the public. Year-round, shoppers can find chocolate-coated nuts, chocolate-coated espresso beans, graham crackers dipped in chocolate, fortune cookies, confections, nuts and teas.
The company’s garage sale will be from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Thursday and Friday and 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. Saturday at 4401 Industry Drive E., Fife. More information here.
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I asked Emily Paulose, daughter of company founder George Paulose, to talk about the sale, and the company.
Q: Tell readers a little about your company — when was it founded?
A: AMES is family-owned and operated with a whole lot of adopted family members (employees) included in the day-to-day operations. My mom (Susan Paulose), sister (Amy Paulose), dad, brother-in-law (Dan Smith), uncle (Paul Varkey) and cousin (Manu Kurian) are all involved on a day-to-day basis. Many of our other family members have been with us for many years and are phenomenal at what they do.
Q: I remember about a decade ago, C.R. Roberts from The News Tribune wrote about your company and famous cashews — do you still have your plant in India?
A: Yes, we do. Located in Kerala, India, we import raw materials such as nuts and dried fruits from the United States to India for packing in various forms including roasted and salted nuts, trail mixes, and export them to the international market. We also import cashews from that facility for roasting here locally in Fife.
Q: Tell readers a little about how your family grew the business to a worldwide brand?
A: Our father has always been a very internationally minded person. Originally from India, through his career he has had the fortune of traveling and establishing relationships with people all over the world. As my dad would say, “Garage to global.” From the beginning of the business in our family’s garage, to a global organization, we all believe that trade is a great way to share and learn about culture. Being that the Pacific Northwest is so strategically located, we have been fortunate to we have the opportunity to interact and do business with people from all over the world and we absolutely love that.
Q: Tell readers about your sale — is this an annual event?
A: This is our second year having the garage sale and it looks like it will be an annual event. While most garage sales get rid of tables, chairs, lamps and other knickknacks, we like to get rid of chocolate. It began as we were doing a bit of housecleaning to get ready for our busy season. We discovered that over the years we had collected a wide variety of awesome tins, jars, ribbons, etc. that were unique and interesting. In addition to our chocolates, we thought our customers would enjoy these unique containers, especially around the holidays. So we offered them up at a deeply discounted price.
Q: What kind of bargains are we talking about?
A: Buy-one-get-one-free chocolate-covered fortune cookie bags (one pound); two pounds of dark chocolate-covered almonds for $10; discounted jars and containers and lots more.
Q: What are some of your most popular products that will be featured at the sale?
A: Our most popular items would have to be our milk chocolate-covered grahams, our chocolate-covered fortune cookies, and our dark chocolate-covered cherries.
Q: It’s true that chocolate is good for you and since it comes from a bean, it’s technically a legume-ish healthy thing, right?
A: Ha ha, I like that one. In moderation, chocolate certainly can be good for you. Sometimes having a small treat can just give you a moment to relax and take a deep breath which is important to do through the day. One of our favorite quotes about chocolate is “Chocolate doesn’t ask silly questions … chocolate understands.”
Q: If a tug of war were to break out over the last box of candy at the sale, how would you decide who gets the candy? Rock, paper, scissors? An on-the-spot dance off? Or something else?
A: Oh … that’s a good question. Hopefully it won’t get to that as we have enough to share, but if it were to come down to a showdown, it would have to be a chocolate-eating contest, of course.