Peter Higgins, Purdys Chocolatier
Work is sweet for Peter Higgins, president and chief chocolate scientist for Purdys Chocolatier. Yes, he really is a scientist who happens to work in the chocolate business, and he is part of the company’s advance taste team.
“I studied food science, from fresh produce to the wine industry. And chocolate happens to be the most craved food in the world,” says Peter. “We want to make sure each taste is amazing.”
That means the Purdys taste team starts out with 150 recipes every year. Bite-by-bite they narrow it down to 12 items that make the cut.
“It’s important to listen. That’s number one. Listen to your customer,” says Peter. With a manufacturing plant and test kitchen in Vancouver, Purdys can test-drive their latest creations at a local retail store almost immediately.
Also number one for Peter is team building. “We are all about our team. Everyone does one equally important job, together we put smiles on people’s faces. That’s my leadership style,” says Peter.
With more than 900 employees working in Vancouver and throughout 70 corporately-owned stores in B.C., Alberta and Ontario, Purdys has a big team. Peter tries to get out to every store at this time of year to see how everyone is doing. This year Purdys employees voted the company as one of Canada’s Best Employers – for the sixth time since 2002.
Purdys has been making chocolates in Vancouver for 107 years . The Flavelle family has owned it since 1963, turning Purdys into Canada’s leading chocolatier.
In the last 12 months Purdys has opened seven new stores in Canada — hiring additional people, and with their online sales side growing strong, the future looks sweet.