A BRAND new East Lothian chocolate factory has been officially opened.

Chocolate Tree has swapped its base on Haddington’s Knox Place, next to McConechy’s garage, for the former Knowes Farm Shop by East Linton.

Now after revamping the building, Alastair and Friederike Gower, along with children Rowan and Roslyn, cut the ribbon at the new factory and declared it open.

Alastair told the Courier: “Our order books are really full and that is great.

“We have been really busy but at the same time we had a chance to celebrate, get everybody together and reflect on what has been happening.”

The award-winning business had been based in Haddington, where it also has a shop on Hardgate, for nearly five years.

But Mr Gower had told the Courier they had outgrown the premises, which was previously a pet shop, and were looking to find somewhere bigger but equally suitable.

A crowdfunding campaign was launched, with the move costing in the region of £80,000.

Chocolate Tree looked to raise £30,000, with the rest coming from their own pockets, through bank loans and savings.

The campaign raised a large chunk of the money and Mr Gower was pleased to say the staff – of which there are now 10 – were enjoying their new surroundings.

He said: “We have got a lot more space now. I think the space is really wonderful and we are all enjoying that. We have also hired two new people and it is going really well.”

The move has also allowed Chocolate Tree to explore the possibility of its products – which range from more than a dozen types of chocolate bars to hot chocolate and chocolate spreads – being sold in more shops. Currently, the company’s products are sold in a number of specialist stores.

Mr Gower added: “We are still a specialist company.

“We are not chasing supermarkets but we are able to supply more farm shops and more exports and fulfil that demand.

“Our orders books are full but we are able to provide more than before.”