Founder Julie Nygard refers to The Chocolate Therapist as the intersection of her two loves of life: chocolate and nutrition.

Although she spent more than 18 years in the sporting goods industry, Julie studied nutrition her entire life. An athlete in her youth, she learned how to eat for performance and became intrigued by the way foods affected the body. She later studied nutrition in college, and eventually went on to receive a Nutrition Educator’s Certificate from Bauman Holistic Nutrition College in Boulder, Colorado.

Julie left the sporting goods industry to follow her dream of becoming an author, just as the health benefits of chocolate news broke. A passionate chocolate lover, she knew immediately this was her perfect topic. Over the next 16 months, she amassed hundreds of scientific research papers on the health benefits of chocolate, studying intently while eating a little research every day. Combining her chocolate knowledge, sense of humor and nutrition expertise, she wrote The Chocolate Therapist, A User’s Guide to the Extraordinary Health Benefits of Chocolate.
Once the book was in print, her personal mission evolved into changing the chocolate-loving world as we know it. She began giving talks at local health food stores about the health benefits of chocolate. As her popularity grew, she was frequently requested for television and radio interviews and was often featured in newspapers and magazines. Demand for her presentations increased, helping expand her message for chocolate and health to a much larger audience. (On December 10, 2019, she will present “The Health Benefits of Chocolate” at the TedX Cherry Creek event.)With the presentations going strong as people embraced the health benefits of chocolate, Julie launched her own line of chocolate to support the concepts in her book. She hired a local chocolate shop to custom manufacture the chocolates to keep up with the increasing demand at her speaking engagements, later purchasing the shop when the owners decided to sell.

From there, Julie created her own collection of chocolates with all-natural ingredients, embracing the clean-eating concepts she lives by, as well as supporting the research in the book. The shop officially launched as “The Chocolate Therapist” in October of 2008, right as the market was crashing and the country headed into a massive recession. It was a rough start, but she forged ahead believing what she had known for years–chocolate makes people happy, and this was the perfect time to start a chocolate company. She later added an espresso bar with gourmet coffee, creating a unique and successful business. Most recently, the shop added a self-serve wine bar where guests can select their own wine as well as a collection of chocolates to pair with wines.