As with most Tofino stories, this one begins with living in a VW van by the beach.
Let’s take it back to the very start. Kim and Cam and their little dog Moku grew up between hay bales and pump jacks on the prairies. The recession of 2008-2009 hit their hometown hard, and work slowed down. Kim lost her job; Cam wanted a major life change.
The pair decided to take a leave and road trip out to Tofino in a borrowed VW van and embark on a Surf Sabbatical. The goal was an intentional time of reflection, creativity, and simplicity, free from the daily grind of real life. Kim and Cam fell in love with Tofino – the surfing, beaches and rainforest.
Their friends in Tofino insisted that they try this cute little chocolate shop. They visited Chocolate Tofino once – and then every time they drove by. They were introduced to many new flavours, like basil chocolate and lavender gelato. When they were returning to the prairies, their friends jokingly suggested they move to Tofino and buy the chocolate shop. Everyone laughed.
Kim and Cam returned to the prairies, but found they didn’t fit anymore. Months went by, and as winter set in, they couldn’t stop thinking about that cute little chocolate shop. Should they ask if it was for sale? Would they regret it if they never asked? Seeking advice from older friends, Kim and Cam realized that when given the choice between security and adventure, many had chosen the safe path – and had forever regretted it. The couple decided to make a call that would change their lives forever.
For Valentine’s Day, they flew out to Tofino to try out working at the shop. Was making chocolate and gelato as magical as it might seem? Did they just like the idea of having a chocolate shop? Kim and Cam made chocolate, gelato, curled ribbons on chocolate hearts, and drank Hot Chocolate Elixir for a week. It rained every day, and they spent every moment in that tiny, cozy, warm chocolate shop. They had made their decision.
The rain was pouring down outside. We opened the front door and were greeted by the warm aroma of chocolate. It was pure magic… and it still is.
Kim and Cam flew home, gave a few weeks notice, packed everything they had in a moving van, and set off for Tofino. They didn’t even have a place to stay or anywhere for the moving van to go. They had 2 weeks to learn all the ins and outs of the business – including making chocolate, gelato, bookkeeping and training staff for the first time. They worked hard every day to build a fun, community-minded, family-friendly shop. They pursued professional chocolatier training and have kept learning and growing.
Months after Kim and Cam moved to Tofino, the VW van was loaded onto a rail car in Saskatoon and was shipped westward to Vancouver Island. One day, it arrived on a flatbed truck after a long winding trip over the final mountain pass. They were all together again. Now the VW lives its best life as a surf-mobile, full of surfboards, gently rusting beside the sea.