Meet Our Founder
A love of art and creativity which is executed in the form of chocolate, a drive for business with the appreciation of free enterprise and a passion for perfection is at the heart of Cathy and DeBrand! Cathy has never been to work a day in her life because her “work” is her favorite hobby. She is energized by the talented people with whom she works as they share her enthusiasm every day. Cathy is motivated and humbled by the customers who love and embrace DeBrand as their chocolate shop. While she will always be grateful for the success of DeBrand, she is particularly thankful for how it has touched peoples’ lives through customers’ special moments.
Cathy demonstrating chocolate-making during a “cake show” at her parents’ confectionery supply store.
Cathy experimenting with Sea Salt Caramels before they were to be produced in our kitchens and launched.
Cathy with her husband, Tim, while travelling through Europe.
Growing up in a family deeply involved in the confectionery arts, Cathy Brand-Beere began working with chocolate at the age of eight. She always loved the creative process of making fine chocolates and dreamt of opening a “real chocolate shop” when she grew up. In elementary school, Cathy began making and selling things, such as chocolate candies and jewelry, to her classmates. While in high school, Cathy baked and sold custom designed wedding cakes as a summer job, but it was her passion for confectionery arts (particularly chocolate) that led her to start DeBrand Fine Chocolates in October of 1987.
First DeBrand opened in 1987 (no longer in existence).
Current DeBrand: Contemporary design has maintained the DeBrand signature “chocolate walls” décor.
The name “DeBrand” came from the French prefix “De”, meaning “from”, and Cathy’s last name, “Brand”. The first store was located in Fort Wayne, Indiana, in Cathy’s childhood home, a historic 100+ year old structure which is no longer in existence. DeBrand has truly always been a family business with Cathy’s husband, Tim, working with her and all three of their daughters literally growing up in the business.
Today, DeBrand employs nearly 100 people with four retail shops in Fort Wayne and a mail order department that ships all over the world. In 2010, DeBrand officially launched their Wholesale Division which now supplies products to retailers in all fifty states, Canada, Europe and the Middle East. Only the highest quality ingredients are used, from imported Belgian chocolate to fresh local ingredients and inclusions from all over the globe. Each product is carefully and beautifully packaged and presented in retail stores that deliver first-class ambiance and outstanding customer service centered on “The Golden Rule”. From Cathy’s childhood home to their current 30,000 sq ft corporate & manufacturing headquarters, the cornerstone of DeBrand remains a steadfast commitment to excellence and a passion for perfection.