UPDATED – The popular face of Cocoa Dolce Artisan Chocolates is not only no longer the face of the company, she’s no longer at the business.
Beth Tully, who founded Cocoa Dolce in 2005, sold its assets to a subsidiary of Wichita-based private equity firm Birds Eye Holdings in late 2015 following financial issues resulting from opening a second store in Kansas City.
At the time, Tully explained that the new Prairiefire development where she opened didn’t have the traffic she expected.
Birds Eye said it would work with Tully to continue providing Cocoa Dolce’s “exceptional products and unparalleled customer satisfaction.”
Now, neither side is talking except in prepared statements.
“I am proud of my work over the years at Cocoa Dolce,” Tully said in her statement. “I am now leaving that business in capable hands, as I leave to pursue other opportunities.”
She has a new job as director of brand innovation with Sasnak Management, which owns Carlos O’Kelly’s, the Good Egg and is starting a new breakfast concept called HomeGrown.
In another statement, Birds Eye principal Ben Voegeli said: “The team at Birds Eye Holdings is excited for Beth and the next phase of her career. She has a creative mind that should be a good fit for her new role. Beth helped establish an extremely professional team at Cocoa Dolce over the last ten years that will continue to perform at a very high level and work collaboratively to execute Cocoa Dolce’s strategic plans for growth.”
Tully was gone from Cocoa Dolce before Sasnak made an offer.
“Beth and I have been friends for a long time,” says Sasnak president Jon Rolph.
Rolph says he admires Tully’s creativity, intelligence and strength.
“Everything about her,” he says. “Who she is and what’s she’s accomplished in her life.”
He says when he learned she was free, they started talking.
“Wow, is there something we can do together?” he says he asked.
Rolph says he’s a big believer that if you find good people and “you can find a way to get them in your organization, you should do it, and good things will happen.”
Rolph says Tully will be helping on all Sasnak brands.
“Particularly, she’ll be getting into the middle of HomeGrown, and then we’ll see where it goes from there.”
The restaurant is going to open next month at NewMarket North at 29th and Maize Road on the opposite end of the same strip center as Orangetheory Fitness.
Rolph says he doesn’t have concerns about hiring a friend.
“The people that know Sasnak know that I’ve hired a lot of friends, and, uniquely, it’s worked out really well,” he says.
“I can just already tell she fits in so well.”