Business

A. Korkunov: The Story of a Russian Chocolatier

When the USSR fell in 1991; a new brand of Russian entrepreneur was born. No longer under the heavy hand of the Communist Party, the Russian version of capitalism rose from the ashes of the dormant regime. One of these businessmen was Mr. Andrei Korkunov.

Mr. Korkunov started his career producing jeans just after the fall of the Communist Regime with only about $30 in his pocket after leaving the Soviet Army in the days of perestroika. He discovered very quickly, however, that the cost of man

Manufacturing in the new Russia was quite exorbitant, and instead he switched to importing consumer goods to avoid bankruptcy.

The beginning of Mr. Korkunov’s foray into the world of chocolate in 1994 was almost accidental. One of his Czech suppliers sent him three containers of chocolates instead of the computer order he expected. To his pleasant surprise, chocolates flew off the shelves. He decided to delve deeper into chocolates and hired an Italian chocolate manufacturing company to sell his products in Russia.

In the late 1990s, Mr. Korkunov turned to making his own chocolates once importation became prohibitive. His extremely modern facility at Malyie Vyazemy in Moscow’s Odintsovo district was completed in 1999. This embrace of modern technology set A. Korkunov’s business apart and encouraged the growth to come. The first sweets came off the line on September 26, 1999 and the A. Korkunov line was born.

The manufacturing plant contains state-of-the-art machinery from the Italian company OPM (supplier to companies such as Ferrero Rocher), which makes it possible to obtain amazing products that far outperform most Russian competitors. The constant supervision of the production process guarantees the best quality chocolates at all times. From mixing the chocolate to wrapping it in beautiful boxes, the facilities combined with the best ingredients ensure that A. Korkunov chocolates are always at the peak of perfection.

When the factory was completed in 1999, production was approximately 17,000,000 pounds of chocolate per year. However, the expansion of A. Korkunov’s products to foreign markets, especially the United States, created unprecedented demand that the facility simply could not meet. Therefore, Mr. Korkunov added more than 91,500 square feet to the manufacturing facility in 2003. This addition allowed production capacity to more than triple to meet demand both now and in the future.

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