Taza founder and CEO Alex Whitmore first encountered stone ground chocolate while traveling in Latin America. Having earned a Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from Vassar College, he had become deeply interested in global culinary traditions, inspiring his travels. The rustic intensity of the chocolate he experienced during his journey was so captivating that he decided to create a chocolate factory back home in Somerville, MA. Alex apprenticed under a molinero (miller) in Oaxaca, Mexico to learn how to hand-carve granite mill stones, so he could realize his vision of creating a new kind of American chocolate that is simply crafted, but seriously delicious. In 2005, he officially launched Taza Chocolate with his wife and co-founder Kathleen Fulton, who is now Taza’s Chief Design Officer.
At Taza, Alex set out on a quest to source the best cocoa beans, and to do it ethically and transparently. He pioneered the first third-party certified Direct Trade Cacao Certification program in the world, and has become an industry thought leader in cocoa trade practices that go beyond Fair Trade.
Following the success of Taza Chocolate, which is now sold in over 5,000 stores nationally and internationally, Alex has gone on to become a founder and investor in multiple cocoa producing and exporting operations in Belize, Guatemala, and Bolivia, and also is a founding investor in Uncommon Cocoa Group, a B-Corp organized to supply cocoa ingredients to the specialty, natural, and craft chocolate making industries.
Alex resides with Kathleen and their three daughters in Scituate, Massachusetts, where he can often be found kite boarding.
Taza Founder and Chief Design Officer Kathleen Fulton studied Studio Arts as an undergrad and put her skills to good use as a paginator at a small newspaper, a scribe for a consulting company and ultimately as a designer of all the things at Taza. In the early Taza-days, Kathleen augmented her skill set by earning an MBA, so she could move fluidly from strategic thinking to deep-in-the-pantone-book-weeds-thinking.
In 2005, she met a guy named Alex, who on their first date said he had a business plan to start a chocolate cafe. She said, “That’s a dumb idea.” One look at this guy and she knew that the high overhead plus the restrictive retail hours wasn’t his thing—nor was it hers. Without knowing it, they had their first collaborative exchange. The Taza business concept grew organically from there in stride with their fearless ability to follow their passion and intuition, problem solve and make it up as they go along. The creative tension between the two has been constant since then. Thirteen years later, she still faces a blank page with the Bold confidence that the right team can create anything they set their mind to, and they can win.
Like any business-owner, Kathleen is always thinking about Taza, but when she is not actively working she can be found doing fourteen things at once, including juggling the fun time that is being a working-mom raising three stellar girls, reliving her crew team glory days on her erg, eating peanut butter and bananas and relishing in the awesome saltiness that is living near family and friends in Scituate.