Creating Community with Aurora Grace
This past February, Spruce Street Commons set out to do something special for our favorite valentines – our residents!
As big supporters of Philly-based artisans, we thought that this was the perfect opportunity to collaborate with a local dessert chef and provide our residents with a seasonal, sweet treat. As with all our events, we also wanted to foster a stronger sense of community – not only between Touraine neighbors but also between our residents and the many talented creators of the local art and culture scene.
The Valentine’s Day event was a hot chocolate bar provided by Aurora Grace Chocolates and the opportunity to meet the founder and head chocolatier, Aurora Wold. Since opening in December 2018, Aurora Grace has been making headlines for its hand-painted chocolates which are created with local ingredients. While the shop draws crowds for its artisan chocolates, delicate macarons, and other sweet treats, the most interesting part of this Queen Village storefront is the person behind the counter: Aurora Wold.
What makes the chocolate-maker so interesting? Take your pick of reasons. With no formal pastry chef education, Wold used YouTube videos to teach herself dessert baking. She went on to run the pastry programs at Michelin star restaurants in New York City and after moving to Philly, she started her chocolate business from her apartment. Now, Wold is a small business owner with a storefront and employees – all at the early age of 25.
Wold shares our love of handcrafted products and local materials – or in her line of work, ingredients! Aurora Grace chocolates are not mass-produced for financial efficiency but hand-painted by Wold herself using colored, tempered cocoa butter. The ingredients are locally sourced and organic whenever possible. Organic eggs come from a New Jersey farm, dairy from a Pennsylvania creamery and produce from numerous farms throughout the northeast region.
Wold says that going the extra step for these ingredients is well worth it. “I love the process of making a unique product that tells a story, highlights seasonal ingredients, and goes full circle in giving back to the community and the earth it comes from.”
While her talent for chocolate making can not be denied, what is equally impressive is Wold’s business success as a young, female entrepreneur. Her advice for young women who want to follow in her footsteps is to stand firm in both the value of their product and the values that they believe in: “Know your worth and charge for it. Don’t let anyone be condescending towards you and remember that you have the choice in who you do business with. If their values don’t align with yours, you don’t have to compromise.”
An important value that we share with Aurora Wold is community. At our event, she explained how she loves being a part of Queen Village “because it provides a sense of community inside a large metropolis,” something that we strive to create within our properties. Wold also shared her optimism for Philadelphia’s small business scene: “The city is primed for entrepreneurial growth, it’s growing rapidly and there are opportunities everywhere.” As supporters of local artisans, we couldn’t be happier to hear this!