BETHEL, Conn. — For Michael Sauvageau, a day's work is child's play. And he aims to keep it that way at Noteworthy Chocolates, a new venture he and his wife, Jennifer, have brought to 213 Greenwood Ave., just upstairs from Molten Java.
The Sauvageaus already have experience with making work about play, from the 15 years that they ran Tryout Toys Entertainment. Michael said they spent a lot of time on the road with that business.
"We were all over the country in a bus," he said. "Jennifer and I like to keep life interesting, on our own terms."
Michael grew up in Danbury and Jennifer is a New Hampshire native, but they called Maine home for years. When Michael worked as a regional manager for Yogibo, the Sauvageaus moved from Maine to Bethel. But one day, Michael was struck by a notion while commuting on the train.
"Hey, could we use a laser on chocolate?" he said. "I got home and talked to Jennifer about it. That was one year ago on Oct. 27. I remember exactly, because it was my birthday."
They quickly got to work on the idea. Michael joined the Danbury Hackerspace, which had just acquired a laser.
"It's such a cool space. It's so awesome," he said of the space at the Danbury Library. "The amount of advice and guidance we got was awesome. The encouragement!"
But starting the new business was a major time commitment. "Right away, it was 70 to 100 hours a week," Michael said. But from the enthusiasm he still exhibits for the idea a year later, it seems it was a worthwhile investment of his time.
Noteworthy Chocolates can customize different sizes of chocolate, even setting a lengthy message into a tablet of chocolate. Messages and designs are created on a computer screen and then transferred onto the surface of the chocolate via an engraving laser.
Michael continues to keep work fun. He has a thing for hats, and has a special one he wears when making chocolate.
But for the grand opening of the new business, he donned a more formal model, a tall black hat. He and Jennifer greeted well-wishers arriving before the ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday evening.
Lori McHugh and her daughter, Shayna McHugh, both of Bethel, were among the crowd.
"I met Michael at a Chamber luncheon for newcomers," Lori said, picking up a complimentary rectangle of chocolate. "He said, 'I have the best-tasting business cards,' and he was right!"
The Sauvageaus were joined at the ribbon by their daughter, Alea, 8, who admitted to tasting quite a bit of the chocolate.
Asked what she thought of tasting the chocolate, Alea gave an enthusiastic reply, "They are the best!"