Did you know…the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory started in Durango? This is one of the most successful businesses to originate in Durango. Although some could assume, based on the name, that these chocolates originated in Colorado; many do not know Durango is the place it all began.
Frank Crail and his wife moved from Southern California to Durango to “semi-retire” and raise a family. After literally walking up and down the street and asking what Durango needed, he decided on a candy store. In 1981, the first Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory opened.
He and his partners made the first batches of chocolate, and were barely ready for the business to open on its first day. After having success the first day, they continued with the journey. They then opened other stores in Colorado—Breckenridge and Boulder. After success in all of those locations, they began the process of franchising the stores. In 1985, the company went public trading under RMCF on NASDAQ. They are now the largest chocolate store chain in the United States.
There are usually around 300 varieties of candies and confections made by the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. Many of these are made on location at the factory in Durango. However, the rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory also creates several confections right in front of the customer using copper kettles and marble slabs.
The initial benefit of the storefront location was the proximity to the train station and tourist foot traffic. They now attempt to place stores in similar locations—malls, tourist areas, regional malls, and street fronts. In fact, if you are ever somewhere else and look on the back of the chocolate boxes, they will say they are made in Durango, Colorado.
We love this success story because it is the ultimate American dream, and it happened here in Durango. We see so many people move here for the same reasons—to raise a family and start a business. In fact, that’s what we did when we came here. Durango is a great place to live, and we love having the heritage of such a successful business in our hometown.