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Bon Bon Beauties and Bon Bon Beaus: The Cuties Behind the Company

Behind every delicious bon bon is an entire team of Bon Bon Beauties and Bon Bon Beaus. South ‘n France started its operations just one month before our debut at the 2006 Carolina Chocolate Festival. Bon bon-making is a labor-intensive, time-consuming tradition, and we knew that our young company needed help to produce the thousands and thousands of bon bons required for our first public appearance. So, we appealed to family and friends to volunteer their services at Bon Bon Bees. To read an excerpt from our Bon Bon Bee letter click here.

We honor our Bon Bon Beauties and Bon Bon Beaus, listed below, who donated their time and their talents to launching South ‘n France. They have our eternal gratitude. Our world (and yours too!) is much sweeter because of them:

BON BON BEAUS

Bentley Suggs

Currently pursuing an M.B.A. at UNC-W, Bentley has also started training for a D.B.B. (Doctorate in Bon Bons). Whether rolling Fudge Brownie Bon Bons, procuring a special business card holder, or lending his visual expertise, Bentley’s work always gets an A-plus from us!

 

Brian Dowd

A recently retired Army man, Brian left the islands of Hawaii to join our own version of paradise here in the Carolinas. His military training in precision and accuracy are now being put to good use rolling perfect bon bons (but please don’t tell that to any of his old Army buddies). Thanks, Brian. We salute you!

Chad Dupray

One of the busiest bees we know (he works at four different jobs), Chad still found time to answer our call for help. This is not surprising, since one of his many jobs includes working for the local 911 call center. He is also the genius behind our biggest bon bon product, Sin on a Stick, which is currently under development.

 

Clint Howlett

A long-time family friend and faithful Bon Bon Bee supporter, Clint is on his way to being a high roller in the world of real estate. We predict that it won’t take long, since he is the best bon bon roller we know. His trays of bon bons were so perfectly rounded and so uniformly sized, we worried that people would think they hadn’t been rolled by hand! We all aspired to his example.

 

Eric Radford

The father of two young children, with a third on the way, Eric used our Bon Bon Bees as a method of relaxation. Expectant wife, Cathy, graciously agreed to let him out of the house as long as we sent home a care package of bon bons for her and baby-to-be at the end of the night!

 

Hank Dupray

This handsome Henry Fonda look-alike is the only Bon Bon Beau to achieve the distinction of perfect attendance at the Bon Bon Bees. He graciously agreed to enter our “Management Trainee” program, which just means that he was asked to do everything from cleaning floors to dipping bon bons.

 

Matty J

Matt drove four hours from Greensboro, North Carolina to spend a weekend rolling Peanut Buttah (his favorite) and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough bon bons. He and Charlene talked non-stop, and we are still trying to determine if they talked faster than they rolled or rolled faster than they talked.

 

Mike Lyons

Who says good help is hard to find? When you eat one of our Pistachio Bon Bons, chances are you can claim that the pistachios used to make that bon bon were shelled and ground by a CEO! What other chocolate company in the world can make that claim? Thanks, Mike, for being such a great sport and for demonstrating that the best corporate executives still know how to work in the trenches!

 

Ricardo Suzensky

Charlene’s adopted big brother, Ricardo Suzensky (known as Ski by the Dupray family), showed his love for his little sis by driving all the way to Wilmington from Pittsburgh, PA to help with the Easter weekend Chocolate Celebration in New Bern, NC. His career in sales quickly earned him the title of Salesman of the Year for South ‘n France.

 

Steven Fox

Good fortune and good karma brought Steven (and partner Jamie) into our lives. How many people experience the blessing of discovering the house of their dreams and dreamy new friends all in one day? Thanks, Jamie and Steven, for your support and your friendship.

 

Trevor Dupray

A New Hanover County sheriff’s deputy, Trevor kept law and order at our tent during the Azalea Festival. Now, we just hope he’ll start a one-man campaign to replace the officers’ beloved doughnuts with South ‘n France Bon Bons!

BON BON BEAUTIES

Wear wood oui bee without ewe, Auntie Marg? One of the most regal members of our extended family, our favorite British auntie speaks, reads and writes the Queen’s English. She kindly casts her expert eye on our website from time to time to save us the embarrassment of too many spelling and grammatical errors. If you happen to spot a little “gramaire faux pas”, you can rest assured that it’s our oversight, not hers!

 

Becky Davey

 

Honey, this Southern sweetie is our artist-in-residence! She kneaded bon bon dough like an expert potter and used her paintbrush to add color to our booth décor, just a few of the many talents of this Girl Raised in The South (Charlotte, NC to be exact). Becky, we owe you one clawfoot-bathtub bubble bath on us!

 

Cara Lattuca

One upon a time (not so long ago), an adorable principessa grew up in a large Italian-American family with a brother and eight male cousins. When she finished school, she shuffled off from Buffalo down to Wilmington, NC. Cara first captured the heart of Charlene’s brother (who has to answer to all of those men in Cara’s big family), but she quickly soft-shoed her way into our hearts too! Whether helping us inflate helium balloons for a love-struck Marine, agreeing to handle trick-or-treaters while we hosted a party on Halloween night, running errands, or filling orders at Festivals, we’re grateful that she “lettuce” ask for help whenever it was needed.

 

Cathy Radford

Assistant District Attorney and mother of two (soon-to-be-three), Cathy says the best part of helping at the Bon Bon Bees was that no one was calling her Mommy! With her sassy attitude and her honey-drippin’ accent, this sweet-tea-sippin’ steel magnolia is the quintessential modern Southern Belle.

 

Cheri Olsen

You’ve heard of the Ladies who Lunch, but trust us, the Ladies Who Launch are much more fun! Thanks to Cheri, the founder of the Wilmington Chapter of Ladies Who Launch, for joining us for a late working lunch of wine, cheese, homemade bread and conversation while we curled hundreds and hundreds of yards of Azalea pink ribbon. We tell you folks, this girl can curl!

 

Cory Grimminck

Public Relations expert extraordinaire, the incredibly gifted Cory (currently residing in Wyoming, Michigan) gave us the incredible gift of her writing talents. Any good website copy and press information you read about South ‘n France was most likely written by Cory; anything less than good was most likely written by one of us trying to be like Cory. Because let’s face it: we all love her and wish we could be her. Now, we would like to do a little press on her behalf: This gorgeous woman is still single! You can email her at bibliocory@yahoo.com.

 

Donna Dombrosky

Our self-proclaimed “Rosie the Riveter” of bon bons, Donna’s years of practice making Italian meatballs in Brooklyn made her an ideal bon bon roller. She almost gave our Bon Bon Beau Clint a run for his money! We want her gorgeous grandson Aiden to star in our first commercial.

 

Elaine Williams

Recently the media has been touting the health benefits of chocolate, so it seemed only natural to have a medical professional join our team! Thanks Elaine for trading in your scrubs for a Bon Bon Beauty pillbox hat at the Azalea Festival; it’s a look that suits you well!

 

Elizabeth Cushing

They say that dog owners resemble their dogs. When it comes to character, Elizabeth undoubtedly has a lot in common with her two fantastic pups, Bud and Copper. She’s generous, loving, patient, and the most loyal and supportive friend you could hope for. Not only has this woman rolled bon bons and sorted silk flowers, she agreed to drive hundreds of miles on a Saturday morning to help us get a deal on one of our packaging options. She has also expanded our bandana collection with hip prints and fun colors to keep our spirits up on hectic heavy production days.

 

Elli Sparks

This Bon Bon Supermom (Sophia’s Mom) has a very interesting past. Elli has such passion for any project sh undertakes, she once slept in the same room as the squash she was growing on an organic farm! We didn’t ask her to sleep with the chocolate, but she still took on bon bon-making like the real-life heroine that she is. Katherine Hepburn, eat your heart out!

Elvira Ryder

South ‘n France has two teams: a Production Team and a Seduction Team. Meet the muse for our Seduction Team. The food industry’s most prestigious recruiter, highly skilled at luring famous chefs to top restaurants in New York City, Elvira flew in from Brooklyn to take on the South. She may be from the North y’all, but this goddess has mastered the womanly arts of charm, wit, cheek, and seduction. She had festival goers eating out of her hands—literally!

 

Gwen Dupray

The beauty who started it all– our very own Peanut Buttah Princess. Thank you, Mom, for passing down the Peanut Buttah recipe and for not passing out when we told you what we planned to do with it! Gwen went from making Peanut Buttah Bon Bons once a year as a Christmas tradition to making them once a day! She is also the chic and talented milliner who designs the South ‘n France chapeaux!

Heather has officially earned the title of Bon Bon Princess! Initially one of our best clients (she came to so many Bon Bon and Champagne Parties she can recite our demo in her sleep), we are now able to call her our friend. When The Bon Bon Queen needed to be in three places at once, Heather graciously agreed to train and entertain at one event on Charlene’s behalf. She’s not only nice, she’s also beautiful, charming, and smart. And, she drives a hot convertible roadster! So naturally, we also had to recruit her as a model for our most recent press kit. Yes, just like the English royals of years past, Heather is to Princess Diana as Charlene is to….on second thought, let’s not go there!

Joan Lopez

Joan looks so regal in our Bon Bon Chapeau we tried to convince her to leave her successful real estate career for a full-time engagement as our Bon Bon Beauty spokeswoman.  We haven’t succeeded yet, but she says rolling bon bons is as relaxing as a visit to the spa.  If we buy her a plush bathrobe and a mud mask, we may just win her over!

Here’s a recipe we love: Add several pairs of sexy high heels to the world’s best spaghetti sauce; mix in juicy library books and lots of know-how; pour over a generous, giving heart. Those are just a few of the yummy ingredients that make up our amazing friend Joan!

Kate McCrosty

You can find Kate’s artwork on dishware and home decor accessories all over the world, but recently you could have found her right here in the Bon Bon Factory, adding her artistic touch to South ‘n France products. Thanks, Kate; next time we hope we will be able to better showcase your incredible talents!

Kym Loven

We can’t resist sending some lovin’ to some girls named Loven to thank them for helping out at Wilmington’s 2007 Chocolate Fantasy Adventure! Mom, Kym, and daughters Betty (age10) and Brooke (age 5) looked so cute in their Bon Bon Beauty Hats. A special shout-out to the fabulous Betty who single-handedly added hundreds of new people to our mailing list! It may be Kym who is studying sonography, but even South ‘n France can spot early detection of sweet young ladies who are destined for greatness when they reach maturity.

Lindsay Miller

Our youngest Bon Bon Beauty, Lindsay might still need help with French lessons, but she mastered the art of bon bon making in no time! Dressed like a confection in chocolate brown and soft pink, this smart, creative high school student has sales and negotiation skills that could rival seasoned executives. Don’t be surprised if she’s running South ‘n France twenty years from now…. Mille fois merci, Lindsay, tu es très mignonne et super sympathique!

Maria Cantwell

Once a Pampered Chef Kitchen Consultant, Maria pampered us with her enthusiastic participation at the Bon Bon Bees! Thank you for lending us that great chopper and lots of great ideas too!

Martha Geist

Will the REAL Martha please stand up? Here’s what Martha Stewart has that Martha Geist doesn’t have: fame, millionaire-status and a criminal record. Here’s what Martha Geist has that Martha Stewart doesn’t have: a winning, high-energy personality, a whimsical sense of humor, unstoppable creativity, and the ability to do anything with style and flair! Thank you Martha for your limitless talent and know-how. When we ask “What would Martha do?”, we are referring to you!

Melinda Suzensky

Being one of the sweetest school teachers on the planet, Melinda knows all about organizing and multi-tasking. We are grateful that she organized the biggest kid we know (see Ricardo Suzensky above) to make the trip to Wilmington from Pittsburgh, and that she jumped right in to help us make Easter baskets, print price tags, and make the grade for our Easter festival!

 

Melissa Lyons

Here’s one way to make a great friend: show up on her doorstep a week early for a party that she’s hosting! That’s what Charlene did to Melissa. Thankfully, Melissa’s one of those gracious, down-to-earth people who just shrugged, grabbed her husband and a bottle of wine, and created an impromptu party at the dock near her house. Melissa is a Human Resources Consultant (which explains why she’s used to dealing with people deftly in the strangest of circumstances!); she’s also the only person we know who manages to get this sexy Marilyn Monroe vibe going while wearing a bandana and rolling bon bons!

Sophia Staropoli

Our youngest intern, this delightful eight-year-old entrepreneur with her own party planning business for kids (Party Planner Girl) came down all the way from Richmond, Virginia to learn the trade secrets behind the bon bon business. Fudge Brownie Bon Bons are Sophia’s favorite flavor, and she quickly mastered the art of eating them while swooning on Charlene’s fainting couch.

Sunita Panesar

From the Baby Land Command Center in Little Rock, Arkansas, just weeks after giving birth to her own amazing creation, Gia, Sunita helped South’n France create Candy Land Corporate by providing her invaluable computer and organizational expertise.

Tracey Russell

This amazing goddess gets the prize for driving the furthest distance (all the way down from Richmond, VA) to participate in a Bon Bon Bee Marathon. And Tracey knows a lot about marathons—she organizes them for a living! This explains how she was able to go the distance rolling dough, dipping chocolates, reviewing our website, and providing Sisterly encouragement throughout the weekend. Please come back soon, Tracey. We love you!

 

BON BON BENEFACTORS:

Bob McKenzie

Thank you to Bob McKenzie, our favorite music man (call Sundance Sound in Wilmington for all of your D.J. needs), for creating the soundtracks of my life—this time chocolate candy bon bon songs!

 

Lori Kane

Thank you to Lori Kane, Purchasing and Procurement Diva, for researching our packaging options!

 

Millie Holloman

If you like the photos on our website, then you’ll love Millie Holloman! Annie Liebowitz and Anne Geddes are household names of the past; Millie Holloman is THE name of the future. This 26-year-old girl genius is so incredibly talented (both as a photographer and as a businesswoman), she is rapidly gaining notoriety across the country. Charlene and Pascal visit her blog and website (www.millieholloman.com) regularly for our daily dose of inspiration, and we think you should too. Thanks, Millie, for everything you do to make us look good; you are a blessing and we are forever grateful!

Mr. and Mrs. Carl Stidham

A very warm thank you to Mr. and Mrs. Carl Stidham of Leland, North Carolina, who kept our bon bons cool (and us collected) by letting us borrow a freezer for additional storage.
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