Winter 2015 Wine & Finance: Entrepreneurship

Screen Shot 2015-01-09 at 8.16.31 AMOur theme for this quarter’s Wine & Finance event is Entrepreneurship: A Case Study. We featured Sarah Gross, founder and president of Rescue Chocolate.

100% of Rescue Chocolate’s net profits are donated to animal rescue organizations. The chocolates are kosher, vegan, and organic. And delicious! Sarah spoke about her experience starting the business, the challenges and the joys. She talked about how she went from idea to successful business. 

Sarah says, “It all started with an image of a forlorn pitbull. Her name was Mocha, and her photo had been posted online ( by her foster mom as a desperate act to find her a permanent home before the clock ran down to zero.
Sarah GrossI kept thinking about this dog, looking at that online posting once, twice, and then again. I kept going back to check, to see if someone had adopted her. I grew up with dogs and volunteering at my local animal shelter, but I knew I couldn’t have a dog at the moment. I was not around much and my NYC apartment didn’t allow pets.

But, I was able to track down Mocha’s foster mom. I set up an appointment just to meet, with no strings attached. You know what happened next: I adopted her. And it was Mocha that gave me inspiration for my business.

I was savoring some dark chocolate before heading out with Mocha for our morning walk, and suddenly it occurred to me: why not put together my two loves? How about developing a scrumptious new dark chocolate line, selling it, and donating the profits to animals in need?

I already worked part-time at Gnosis, a raw chocolate company in Queens, where I had developed a best-selling flavor. I knew what tasted good. And God knew there was certainly a need to raise awareness about the epidemic of homeless pets in America. The idea for Rescue Chocolate was almost fully formed before Mocha and I returned from our walk that morning in December 2009.

Now, working with executive chef Jean Francois Bonnet at the Tumbador chocolate factory, it is a dream to create new flavors for my line of dark chocolate products, naming them, selling them, and choosing the animal rescue charities to support each month. Rescue Chocolate is carried by a number of retail outlets in New York, San Diego, Chicago, and elsewhere, and it is also sold online.

People give it a try and become addicted. Maybe it has something to do with the picture of the pooch on the wrapper of every Rescue Chocolate bar—that one with the mocha-brown eyes.”

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