Chilmark Chocolates Sign

Chilmark Chocolates Sign

An Island institution for 33 years, Chilmark Chocolates defied expectations of what a successful small business “should” be, but succeeded nonetheless. Founded in 1985 by co-owners Mary Beth Grady and Allison Burger and operated out of a converted house off State Road in Chilmark, the shop built a reputation for high-quality, hand crafted chocolates and other confections. It also built a reputation for word-of-mouth advertising, eccentric hours, and a habit of closing for parts of August: the busiest part of the summer season, which many Island businesses depend on to remain profitable. 

Chilmark Chocolates became known, within the Island community, for its openness to hiring workers with physical and mental disabilities. Beyond simply hiring people with disabilities, however, Grady and Burger took the time to train their employees in every facet of the business from production to customer service, adjusting the details of store policies to enable everyone to do their jobs better.

Grady and Burger elected to close Chilmark Chocolates at the end of 2019, telling staff in a letter that: “We are hanging up our aprons and gloves. We feel very fortunate to have had a chance to work with all of you and so many other inspiring people over the past 33 years.” The letter further explained that they had chosen not to sell the business, preferring “to let it stand for what we all worked together to create.” The letter captured the essence of what their business had been: A community of workers existing within, and serving, a community of customers stretching across the Island and far beyond.


Title Chilmark Chocolates Sign
Date 1986-2019
Type Object
Credit Gift of Mary Beth Grady
Ref No 2022.042.001
Thematic Collection 100 Years, 100 Stories: Turning a Profit
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