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Marine veteran spreads happiness through chocolate

RICHMOND, Va. -- Tim Gearhart is taking a sweet bite out of life. As the owner of Gearhart's Fine Chocolates, Tim makes a confection connection each and every day.

“It is a wonderful way to make a living," said Gearhart.

Consistency. It’s Tim Gearhart’s recipe for success.

“It has to be the same every time. It has to look the same and it has to taste the same," he said.

Tim Gearhart

Tim Gearhart

Each mouth-watering piece that he makes is crafted to perfection.

“We have 16 chocolates we make. Mostly dark chocolates," said Gearhart.

Tim opened his first shop in Charlottesville in 2001 and his Richmond store at Libbie and Grove Ave. seven years ago.

“Chocolate gets real messy real quick,” said Gearhart. “Malted milk hazelnut is my all-time favorite."


Every day his dedicated staff drizzles and decorates about 9,000 pieces. For the former pastry chef, spreading smiles is just as important as the bottom line.

Gearhart didn't learn his moves in the kitchen of a high brow cooking school.

“I was in 1988 to 1992. I was active duty," he said.

Yes, the man who creates delicate delights once served as a hard core Marine during the first Gulf War.

“When people hear that I was in the Marines they ask if I learned to make chocolate in the Marines ah no. It was nothing like that," said Gearhart.

The 47-year-old credits cooking in the military for setting him on the right path.

“The attention to detail and the repetitive nature of things. Being in the Marines set the foundation a little bit.”

Now 25 years later instead of taking orders, the chocolatier is filling them.

“I can honestly say that we’re making the best quality, most consistent chocolate that we’ve ever made without a doubt,” he said.

For Tim Gearhart, life hasn’t tasted any sweeter.

"And that is pretty cool you know? We’re just so lucky to do this,” he added.

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