From 1960s plastic molds to pure chocolate cascades, these local master chocolatiers just might be one of Buffalo’s finest success stories.
BUFFALO, NY – Take a tour of Buffalo’s Black Rock neighborhood, especially along 85 River Rock Drive, and you might see the sign for Tomric Systems Inc.
But most Western New Yorkers, even if they to do see this sign or the building– not really know what Tomric means to the city, the country and far beyond.
And hey there is of them chocolate cascades right through the front door. Seriously.
But those big dreams came from humble beginnings, just like so many Buffalo success stories.
Michael Odrzywolski, sales manager of Tomric, can trace the chronology of the “Tomric” brand back to 1962, when the rest of the chocolate industry used metal or pewter molds.
“It wasn’t really easy to use, [it was] hard to do, ”said Odrzywolski. “Then the Elsinghorst brothers started making plastic molds, and that’s when we really started. “
Many mornings you can find Odrzywolski at Tomric’s sharing a cup of coffee with Brian Donaghy, the corporate chocolatier and director of the company’s innovation center.
Donaghy has been with the company for almost 13 years and has seen the business grow in leaps and bounds during this time.
“We thought small,” says Donaghy of his early days with Tomric, “which is no insult. We were a family business that just hadn’t grown up yet.”
As the turn came, they continued to aim higher. To be more than just a chocolate mold company.
Eventually, for Tomric, the molds led to full candy trays, which led to specialized chocolate candy designs and candy wrappers.
Now Tomric sells virtually any chocolate making machine you can think of, from small batch machines for local chocolate factories to industrial sized machines for larger confectionery companies.
It’s safe to say that if you’ve ever eaten a piece of chocolate that you really liked, there’s a good chance Tomric has had at least one little little influence in its manufacture.
“If you walk into any chocolate store around the corner, let it be here in Buffalo,” Odrzywolski said, referring to local stores like Fowlers, Dark Forest, Antoinette’s and Park Edge as a few examples. “It was probably a mold made by Tomric that brought you there.”
“We’re behind the scenes for most people,” Donaghy said. “Being a part of so many businesses and people’s lives… It’s kinda fun.”
But beyond the local scene, Tomric has also expanded his influence internationally, in countries like Canada, Mexico, Colombia and Nicaragua, to name a few.
Their clientele is fairly small, with around 3,500 active customers, but Tomric doesn’t just sell equipment or molds. In the words of Odrzywolski, they want to help their customers solve their problems.
“We really support them from start to finish, and that’s why we built this facility, right? To really help our customers learn how to make better chocolate. “
While in culinary school, Donaghy’s chef instructors gave him and his classmates some wisdom: “You can go anywhere and do anything in it. this job. You just have to be determined. “
But it was not really his favorite words of wisdom.
“My mom jokes with me that when I was 6 I would order the biggest piece of chocolate cake they had on the menu, no matter what I had for dinner,” laughs Donaghy. “And I would eat it all.”
It’s that same love that fuels some of the educational opportunities Tomric has deployed, like their ice cream making and chocolate carving classes in recent months.
From potential customers with orders for dozens of molds, to birthday parties or wine and chocolate pairing events to chocolate lovers in Western New York, Donaghy is keenly aware of how lucky he is. to be able to share his profession with others.
“It was fate. I really believe it,” Donaghy said. “I love working with, and teaching about it and just the aroma… I’m the only guy I know who regularly has a box of 20 pounds of chocolate on her counter at home. “
If you want to know more about the services, opportunities and possibilities that you can find at Tomric, whether you want to start your own chocolate making business, create a specialized design for your holiday treats or even a specialized event for you. – even and a group of friends, family or co-workers – you can call their Buffalo location at (716) 854-6050, or visit their website for another event or contact information.
(And hey… seriously… make a date only to see these chocolate cascades …)
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