Meet Our Founder
My drive has always originated from a deep appreciation of art and a passion to create. And what better way to fulfill this than with my love of chocolate! I’ve never been to work a day in my life because my “work” is my favorite hobby. I am energized by the talented people with whom I collaborate as they share my enthusiasm every day. I am motivated and humbled by the customers who love and embrace DeBrand as “their chocolate”. While I will always be grateful for the success of DeBrand, I am particularly thankful for how it has touched peoples’ lives through special moments and celebrations.
Cathy (approx. 10 years old) 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 traveling in Peru visiting a cocoa farm.
Growing up in a family deeply involved in the confectionery arts, I began working with chocolate at the age of eight. I always loved the creative process of making fine chocolates and dreamt of opening a “real chocolate shop” when I grew up. In elementary school, I began making and selling things to my classmates, such as chocolate candies and jewelry. While in high school, I baked and sold custom designed wedding cakes as a summer job, and it was my passion for confectionery arts (particularly chocolate) that led me to start DeBrand Fine Chocolates in October of 1987.
Interior of the Coldwater Road shop.
Interior of the Indianapolis shop.
Mural inside the Downtown shop.
The name “DeBrand” came from the combination of the French prefix “De”, meaning “from”, and my last name, “Brand”. The first store was located in Fort Wayne, Indiana, in my childhood home, a historic 100+ year old structure which is no longer in existence. DeBrand has always been a family business with my husband, Tim, being involved and all three of our children literally growing up in the business. After graduating from college, our daughter, Audree has joined the business and is working right by my side.
Cathy’s three daughters in the shop.
Cathy’s daughter Audree (approx, age 6) learning to make chocolates.
Cathy and her daughter Audree, who is now the Business Operations Manager at DeBrand.
Today, DeBrand employs nearly 100 people with four retail shops in Fort Wayne, one in Indianapolis, and a mail order department that ships all over the world. The highest quality ingredients are used as a foundation for our art, from imported Belgian, Swiss, and other chocolates 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 my childhood home to our current 30,000 sq ft corporate & manufacturing headquarters, the cornerstone of DeBrand remains a steadfast commitment to excellence.