Craft Candy Entrepreneur
Bixby & Co. was founded by Kate McAleer. Kate represents a new breed of young entrepreneurs who are breaking with the traditional career path. They possess a renewed American spirit that drives them to create new businesses that are socially responsible while incredibly supportive of local communities. Kate’s life experiences have shaped every aspect of the Bixby chocolate manufacturing company. The greatest inspiration for her recipes has been her strong, intimate relationships with family and community in addition to an active, health-conscious lifestyle.
The Bixby name comes from her great- great grandparents, Lillian and William K. Bixby, who worked very hard to achieve the “American Dream.” They lived an adventurous life with incredible devotion and commitment to family as well as community in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. That same adventurous spirit led Kate to expand her horizons by spending two years studying abroad in France and China. She lived with host families and became immersed in their cultures. Since then, she continues to travel abroad which has opened her heart to exotic cuisines and spices which inspire her creative recipes.
After graduating from New York University, Kate pursued her passion of combining cultural history with the culinary arts. She earned diplomas in pastry arts and culinary management from the Institute of Culinary Education (ICE), Manhattan, New York and certificates from Ecole Chocolate, Vancouver. Kate is now a candidate for an MBA in Food Marketing at St. Joseph's University in Philadelphia, PA.
Kate faced one of the most significant challenges of her life when her mother was diagnosed with advanced breast cancer in 2006. Today, her mother lives life to the fullest with incurable metastatic breast cancer. This is being achieved by new types of cancer medications allowing people to live ‘a new norm’ with an advanced cancer diagnosis. This has resulted in her family continually seeking clean foods and a chemical-free living environment in our home. Her mother’s courageous example greatly influenced Kate’s mission.
All Bixby products are manufactured in a 125 year old former ice plant located on a working marina on the Mid Coast of Maine that Bixby & Co. has been refurbishing over time. The chocolate confections which are made from ethically sourced ingredients include Bixby Bars, Peanut Butter Bites, Caramel Bites and Clusters, bear many certifications that include Organic, Non-GMO, Kosher, Gluten-Free and Vegan Verification, Rainforest Alliance Certified chocolate, SQF Level II Certification, and certified Women Owned. Many products are distributed into nationally recognized stores.
Recently, Bixby & Co. opened a tasting room and retail store in part of its manufacturing facility to introduce Maine's first "Bean to Bar" chocolates. Kate ensures that quality organic beans are directly sourced from Caribbean and Central American countries such as the Dominican Republic, Guatamala and Haiti. She has visited these countries where she has met the farmers that produce the cocoa beans that Bixby sources. Bixby & Co. is now producing its own chocolate straight from the cocoa bean for several new bean to bar varietal chocolate bars and newly created chocolate bonbons, chocolate nibs and chocolate covered coffee beans.
Kate's mother has been working with the Audubon Society's Project Puffin to partner in the development of three newly created Puffin chocolate confections being manufactured by Bixby. Bixby & Co. will donate five percent of the sales of Puffin chocolate confections to Project Puffin, which is restoring and protecting the iconic Puffin in the State of Maine.
A Tory Burch Foundation Fellow and Gorham Savings Bank LaunchPad Winner, Kate was Named Maine's Young Entrepreneur of the Year by the Small Business Administration.