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Chubby Chipmunk Hand-Dipped Chocolates: Confection is good for the soul

Black Hills Backstory: Mary Tautkus
Published: Feb. 10, 2021 at 9:30 AM MST
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) -When she was a little girl, she would hover around a stove concocting mouth-watering treats and desserts as long as it contained chocolate.

In 2004 after renting a former pumphouse in Pluma, Mary Tautkus, also known as “Chip,” continued her passion for goodies and created what is internationally known as Chubby Chipmunk hand-dipped chocolates.

Chip said “I said to myself what am I suppose to do? I’m bored and I have to have something to do and my husband said why don’t you run over and make your little chocolates and I did. That was 17 years ago.”

Fast forward and now Chip, along with her team, delivers tons of truffles, chocolate bars and other of Chip’s creations all around the world. With their confections being popular all year long, son and general manager Seth Tautkus says there are a few reasons why their chocolates are so popular.

“It’s all about the ingredients. My mom sources the highest quality of ingredients you can get” said Seth. “We’re constantly searching. We get chocolate from Peru, from Europe, even stateside there’s some really high-quality chocolate. And we make them the old fashion way. The time-intensive, made with butter and love kind of way.”

With their delicacies being featured at the Grammy’s and Oscars, it’s easy to see the success of Chubby Chipmunk. But, according to Seth, it wasn’t always easy.

“I think we started here with a wing and a prayer. You have to think outside of the box. We do and we work with what we have” said Seth. “I mean I remember a time when we were sleeping on Army cots in a freezing home in Lead. And so to see this place grow and develop has just been awesome.”

With hundreds of orders made daily those times seem like a distant memory. Chip and Seth are proud of their products, business, and family. However, Chip is reminded of a quote her father kept on hand when conceptualizing true happiness in life.

“My father had a phrase and he was my rock. It was -live so that when you die even the undertaker is sorry,” said Chip. “You want people to smile when they see you. You want people to enjoy what you have so that when they walk in here it’s a little bit of heaven. It’s for once you can say stop the insanity I don’t want to think about anything else happening in the world. I’m just going to enjoy my chocolate. That makes me happy”

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