The Business of Love Is Booming

Inside a chocolate factory just in time for Valentine's Day.

By Scott Budman
|  Monday, Feb 13, 2012  |  Updated 4:45 PM PDT
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Welcome to the Guittard Chocolate factory in Burlingame, Calif.  Busy all the time, but this time of year, it's truly about the closest you'll come to Willie Wonka in real life.  Assembly lines of chocolate, strawberries and drizzling sweet things all over the place.

Welcome to the Guittard Chocolate factory in Burlingame, Calif. Busy all the time, but this time of year, it's truly about the closest you'll come to Willie Wonka in real life. Assembly lines of chocolate, strawberries and drizzling sweet things all over the place.

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"Love is a business, and this year, business is booming."

Welcome to the Guittard Chocolate factory in Burlingame, Calif.  Busy all the time, but this time of year, it's truly about the closest you'll come to Willie Wonka in real life.  Assembly lines of chocolate, strawberries and drizzling sweet things all over the place.

Sprinkle, load, FedEx, and repeat.  Boxes and boxes flying out of the factory, on their way to a store -- and mouth -- near you.  And, if you're anything like the typical American consumer, the National Retail Federation says you'll spend close to $126 to impress a loved one this Valentine's Day.

Ellen Davis of the Retail Federation says we'll collectively throw down $17 billion this year on our sweethearts.  Love is, indeed, big business, and coming out of the recession, it's bigger than it's been in a while.  "People plan to spend more," Davis says. "An encouraging sign for the economy."

Yes, we love our iPads, but for this day, our focus is on flowers -- a $2 billion business in its own right -- and chocolates.  If you could peek into the Guittard factory, you'll see the fruits of all of our collective, well, love.  Business is huge, it smells delicious, and the taste? 

We recommend you try it for yourself.

Scott did his shopping. He’s on Twitter: @scottbudman

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