With Veteran’s Day just last week, we here at OTC wanted to take a moment to highlight one of the hard-working veterans right here in our community, Eric Rice. Eric Rice was ranger in the 1st Ranger Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, and was stationed at Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah, GA until 2000 when he left the service to finish his Bachelor’s degree in Political Science. After graduation, he fell in love with culinary arts and was working as a chef until 3 months ago when he started his own artisanal chocolate company.
Men and women like Eric Rice, who selflessly serve our country, represent the high values of American citizenship through their leadership, honor, and courage. These values follow them in everything they do, and lead many veterans to become entrepreneurs following their service. This trend dates back to World War II, when nearly 50% of veterans owned a business following their time in service (Gosselin). Eric Rice is one of many veteran entrepreneurs and small-business owners in our very own Old Town Cornelius, and we sat down with him to listen to the story that brought him to his new business, Myrüka Chocolate.
Rice started Myrüka Chocolate just three months ago after being inspired by the art of chocolate-making that many chocolate-lovers are unaware of. Rice said, “nobody really knows how people make it anyways, and the craftsmanship behind it is really interesting.” This newfound passion inspired Rice to leave the restaurant industry after 17 years, and start Myrüka Chocolate out of his home. “I just bought some equipment, and decided to see where this could really go,” says Rice. Three months later, the company has expanded distribution to local retailers, and was even featured at our very own Old Town Revival in Old Town Cornelius back in October.
The company specializes in bean to bar chocolate from single-origin cacao. They are one of less than ten chocolate companies in North Carolina to take this approach to the art of crafting custom chocolate. Rice says that this method is special for its many intricate steps which really allow the chocolatier to pinpoint the flavor of one particular kind of bean. Whether you are looking for just a classic milk chocolate bar or something more adventurous like their whiskey-bourbon bars, you are bound to be left craving more.
Looking to try some Myrüka Chocolate for yourself? You can find these delectable treats at our local Ace Hardware, Christmas in Cornlius Local Artisan Market, Ass Clown Brewing Company, or HempLily. Stay up to date with new products and distributors by following @MyrukaChocolate on Instagram!
Gosselin, Chris. “Why America’s Veterans Make the Best Entrepreneurs.” Fortune, Fortune, 11 Nov. 2016, fortune.com/2016/11/11/veterans-day-leadership-ceo/.
Photo Credits: @myrukachcolate on Instagram