Spero Chocolate is built on philanthropy

Courtesy of Craig Eaton
Spero is Latin for hope, which is the goal of chocolate maker Craig Eaton: to instill hope for struggling youth using profits from his homemade chocolate bars.

Eaton is a successful property manager in Mesa, Arizona, who had a hobby of making chocolate for four years before the inception of Spero Chocolate in October 2018. 

“It’s the only thing I really know how to make,” Eaton said and laughed. 

He turned his hobby into a business with the sole goal of philanthropy, mindful that making chocolate from scratch is a long and tedious process.

“We’ve done the whole process of the fermenting, and the processing, and the grinding. But, what is this business really about? If we’re going to be a boutique bean-to-bar company, then we’re going to have to charge $8 for a chocolate bar,” Eaton said. “Is that really going to benefit or work in our interest to raise money? Because ultimately, that’s what it’s about: raising money.” 

Instead, Eaton gets his chocolate from an organic, fair-trade co-op who reverse-engineered the chocolate sample Eaton sent to them. A designated spot in the Eaton household complies with AZ food handling laws, including shelves, cabinets and separate refrigeration.

 “We do all the steps after roasting,” Eaton explained. 

The chocolate bars are available in 10 different flavors with playful Arizona-themed names such as Grand Canyon Majestic, Flagstaff Tree Hugger or Mesa Mint. If you break off a piece, the chocolate melts on your tongue with flavor instead of a spike of sugar or processed ingredients. Also, 100% of the profit goes to charitable organizations, so you have nothing to feel guilty about.

“We wanted to give to those without a voice,” Eaton said,” which is our kids.” 

Spero Chocolate started by donating their proceeds to Tumbleweed Youth Devolopment Youth Center. The United Methodist Outreach Ministries created the shelter for unaccompanied minors that offers counseling, job training and educational opportunities. 

Spero also donates to the Care Fund. 

They provide rent or lease payments to families when their children are in the hospital, and the parents aren’t able to continue working,” explained Eaton. Spero has recently also donated to the Phoenix Children’s Hospital.

“We want it to go to families that are uninsured or underinsured,” Eaton said, adding that all three of the organizations were picked because they’re uniquely Arizona. 

For now, Spero Chocolate sells to local businesses in Chandler, Mesa, Queen Creek, Gilbert and Phoenix. But, they have bigger plans brewing.

“What we hope to achieve in the future is to grow to the size where we can take youth, more specifically high school age, and employ them,” Eaton said. “Teach them small business skills that they otherwise wouldn’t get to learn.”

To find local businesses where Spero Chocolate is sold, visit their site at https://sperochocolate.com/ .

To find out more about the organizations Spero donates to visit the organizations’ sites at https://www.thecarefund.org/, https://umom.org/services/ and https://www.phoenixchildrens.org/.

About Author

Allison Cripe is a guest writer for the Mesa Legend. She also writes songs and short stories such as this one in Across the Margin: https://acrossthemargin.com/flesh-colored-shell/. Dogs are her spirit animal(s).

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