I have had emails from a couple of people asking whether I can tell them more about Personality Chocolates, leading me to do a bit of exploring through old newspapers. There seems to be no information about the proprietors of the original company, although it appears they started a small factory at Minton House, 14 Bayswater Road, King’s Cross, in 1930. They subsequently opened a retail operation in Elizabeth Street, Sydney.
Over the following three decades the company advertised for staff, including chocolate dippers, bon bon dippers and packers. They evidently remained in the same location into the 1970s. My first correspondent worked in the factory for about a year, starting in 1971, soon after she arrived from Argentina. At that time, she told me, the staff consisted of two workers who prepared the chocolate, two women who made the chocolates by hand, and four people packing. My second correspondent remembers her father buying hand-made chocolates and Easter eggs from Personality Chocolates, probably in the 1970s.
It’s clear that, at least in its early years, the company was successful enough to send its products interstate. An advertisement in 1950 in Tasmania’s Launceston Examiner proudly announced the availability of “a confection made famous in Sydney for twenty years”. It seems a Melbourne branch was also opened at some point.
In 1969, an advertising piece in a Sydney Morning Herald column known as the Shop Detective burbled, “I did all my courting with Personality Chocolates…a statement made, time after time, by clients of yesteryear – and today”. At this time there were retail outlets in Elizabeth Street, Sydney and at 25 Rowe Street. It seems likely this was Rowe Street in the CBD, a street famous for its cosmopolitan ambiance, cafés and small specialty shops.
However by 1975, for reasons unknown, Personality Chocolates was slowly going broke. An enterprising woman named Trish Scott bought the name for $5000 and moved the flagship store from Elizabeth Street to a more prominent position in the new MLC Centre. The new Personality Chocolates no longer had its own manufacturing operation, but bought its signature product from the Hand Dipped Chocolate Co. and other suppliers. The stores also began to sell a range of imported confectionery and other exotic gift lines. Further stores were opened in Double Bay and Neutral Bay.
The MLC Centre store continued to trade until 1990, but in 1991 the name was again advertised for sale. A lease was not offered as part of the deal, so I assume the store itself had closed. I have been unable to determine whether the sale was successful, but the registration of the business name was cancelled in 2012.
If you know more about the people behind the original Personality Chocolates I would love to hear from you.