A Vermont town is running its own version of Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory by hiding golden tickets in candy bars that are good for one free year of parking.
The limited edition treats are created by Tavernier Chocolates in Brattleboro, where three lucky winners will be allowed to park downtown at no cost for 12 months – a prize valued at $400.
The chocolate makers, Dar Tavernier and her husband, John Singer, made 1,000 special bars with three golden tickets hidden in the batch.
The idea was to lure folks to downtown shops, where hopefully they will spend a little cash with local retailers.
“Parking is a little difficult in downtown Battleboro,” Tavernier told InsideEdition.com. “We’re really lucky that we have a really vibrant downtown. It’s very busy and it is paid parking.”
The bars are dark chocolate, mixed with maple nuggets from a local producer called Bunker Farm.
The owners delivered the candy to local merchants over the weekend. Each bar is $3.25. They were sold at wholesale prices, “and whatever they make on them will be theirs to keep,” she said. “We will collect any unsold bars from them at the end so they don’t have to pay for those.”
The town is donating the parking spaces.
“In Vermont, we’re in what’s known as the mud season,” explained Singer, referring to the gap between the end of ski season and the start of summer. “The promotion was meant to bring people into downtown when it’s pretty quiet.”
Since sharing their marketing plan on Facebook, the couple has received 20,000 views. The reaction “is amazing,” he said.
Making chocolate, they say, is every bit as much fun as a kid would think it is.
“Most people like chocolate. Most people get excited about chocolate,” Tavernier said. “So really, as we’re toiling away making hundreds of bars and trying to come up with new recipes and new ideas, it’s really exciting.
“We’re doing it to share with people and get people’s reactions,” she said.