Dear Friends of South ‘n France Bon Bons:
The rumors are true. And, at last, the news is official: South ‘n France Bon Bons has closed its doors. The last bon bons we made – all 6,000 of them, freshly rolled in preparation for the 2018 holiday season – were never eaten.
Instead, they were discarded curbside, in melted heaps, along with the waterlogged contents of the pink house that served as headquarters for our lives and our little Mom and Pop chocolate business.
If you ever subscribed to our newsletter or attended a Bon Bon Party, you’ve likely heard the telling of how Pascal and I met and eventually started a bon bon business. Steeped in synchronicity and peppered with humor, it’s an entertaining tale. Then, there’s the story of what happened behind-the-scenes as we built South’n France. It’s a good story too, filled with mayhem, mishaps, and many memorable – sometimes unbelievable – moments. Last year, 13 years into our entrepreneurial adventure, Hurricane Florence helped us write the final chapters.
In the weeks following Florence, we faced a series of personal triumphs and challenges. We celebrated adopting two beautiful children we’d fostered since 2015. We mourned the sudden loss of Pascal’s mother after a massive stroke. We hired the wrong contractors. After executing a contract and paying a hefty deposit, they posted a sign in our front yard with a tagline touting their “Intergrity”; that typo pretty much says it all. Then, this summer, I spent nearly every day in a hospital with my mother, who lost her battle with cancer over Labor Day weekend.
In French, there are multiple ways to say ‘goodbye’. Literally translated, ‘au revoir’ means ‘see you later.’ But, if you’re saying goodbye forever, you say ‘adieu.’ This year brought our share of permanent farewells. And, we don’t ever plan to return to bon bon-making for a living. But, we’re not saying ‘adieu’ to the friends we made through South ‘n France. For us, it’s ‘merci’ and ‘au revoir’.
We cannot thank you enough for your support over the past 13 years. It was a privilege to meet so many wonderful people and share in their life stories and celebrations. I’m currently writing a book called “The Mom and Pop Bon Bon Shop: Misadventures of a Micro-Business (and the Lessons we Learned). In it, we’ll give a full behind-the-scenes account of what went into the making of our business and the making of those bon bons. Some of you will recognize the stories; some of you may recognize yourselves in the composite customer characters.
We hope that you will keep in touch. Please join our private mailing list if you’d like to be the first to see sneak peek excerpts from the book, or if you’d like a front row seat to our next adventure.
Wishing you all things sweet,
Charlene and Pascal