It’s a story so good that it’s almost unbelievable: A young woman, fresh out of college and working at a tourist resort deep in the Weminuche Wilderness of Colorado, is spending a day off wandering along the banks of the Upper Animas River and stumbles upon an antique book that has washed up on the shore. It contains hundreds of family recipes for chocolates and confections and reading through the book takes the young woman back to her childhood and teenage years in the kitchen baking with her mother. Is this a sign? She’s been dreaming of ways to own her own business and to be her own boss. Perhaps making chocolate is the way to do it?
She begins small. She tries some of the recipes in the antique book. She begins adding her own flair to them. She brings the resulting confections to friends’ homes and family get-together. Everyone who tries them raves about them. “Make more! Please!” They say.
In 2011, she opens a small shop- a closet, really- and names it Animas Chocolate Company, after the river where she found the book. She starts with four chocolate bars and four truffles and focuses on making them with eminent quality. She names her confections after characters and geographical locations along the river- Twilight Peak, Crazy Woman Creek- and continues to hone her craft.
Animas Chocolate Company grows through word of mouth. Soon the young woman moves out of the closet and into a small shop. She continues to hone her craft, and experiments with increasingly adventurous flavors: Mexican style chile bark chocolates, a Manhattan cocktail-inspired truffle. It isn’t long before ACC moves into a larger retail space where they can welcome more guests into the shop. More truffles, more flavors, a larger production staff, but always with an eye toward superior quality that can only come from the highest quality ingredients and attention to detail. They begin making hot chocolate out of the leftovers from the various bars, barks, and truffles. Soon, people begin stopping by the shop just to get a cup of the hot chocolate- and the young woman has an idea: a chocolate cafe.
Animas Chocolate Company moved into its current space located in the heart of Historic Main Avenue in Durango in 2017. It stands as an homage to Durango’s great past and the characters that populated it, as well as a nod to Durango’s promising future. It’s still owned and operated by the same woman, Carley Snider, and her husband, Marc. No matter how much Animas Chocolate Company has grown, Carley, Marc, and the ACC staff are focused on creating the finest quality chocolates and confections and providing each and every guest with a one-of-a-kind experience.