Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Huffington Post Picks Up Article #3

Confections with Convictions: Kalamazoo Chocolatier Hires Youth with Criminal Records to Make Truffles
Published in Huffington Post, April 23, 2013

Photography by Erik Holladay, 

My third article is picked up by Huffington Post, first published in Southwest Michigan's Second Wave Media. I couldn't be more pleased. Dale Anderson is a good man doing a good thing, and it's all wrapped up in chocolate. This is how to handle rising crime. Let people work once they've done their time. 

This article first appeared in the April 11, 2013 edition of Southwest Michigan's Second Wave.
Two women in uniform enter the store on 116 West Crosstown Parkway in Kalamazoo, badges glinting on their lapels, and they ask for an employee ofConfections with Convictions by name. Dale Anderson, store owner, comes to attention, brushing his hands quickly on his white apron and motions to the young man behind the glass wall of the kitchen where chocolate is made. 

"He's not in trouble!" says one of the detectives reassuringly. "We just need to talk to him a moment."

And still, as the young employee emerges from the kitchen to speak to the two detectives, his expression is wary. It's not the first time he has faced police officers. He, like all four of the employees at Confections with Convictions, has felonies on his record. But the detectives just have a few questions about someone he may know, and in a moment he is back to work in the kitchen -- and the two detectives are leaning in to take a closer look at the glass shelves filled with handmade chocolates. 

They are looking for truffle, not trouble. And Anderson obliges with a grin. "First piece of chocolate is free for first-time customers," he encourages. One detective chooses a truffle made with honey and garnished with bee pollen; the other chooses Ecuadorian dark chocolate sprinkled with toasted cocoa nibs. Both lick their lips with chocolate-inspired pleasure and promise to be back, sans badges, for more. 

Anderson never blinks. He is accustomed to rubbing elbows with young people weighed down by criminal records; thus the name of the store, at least in part. The "convictions" in the store name refer to his commitment to offer ....

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