Picture of Charles A. Sigvardsen

Charles A. Sigvardsen

Class of 2015

Charlie entered the industry in an unconventional way — while researching and writing his thesis, which covered marketing and sales of chocolate. He is still a student of chocolate 62 years later as president and owner of Charlie’s Chocolate Factory, Ltd., a manufacturer, retailer and supplier he founded in 1971. “Often I get the comment, ‘Are you still here?’” he laughs.

Born in Port Moody, BC, June 28, 1930, to Nancy and Louis, Charlie attended the local high school, graduating in 1948 as class valedictorian. After earning a bachelor of commerce degree in Marketing and Sales and a Kiwanis Gold Medal for scholarship from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver in 1953, he was hired by Hudson’s Bay Co. in its advertising department.

Later that year, he joined wholesaler and manufacturer Pauline Johnson Confectionery Manufacturing Inc. as sales manager and remained with the company for 16 years, eventually becoming general manager. In 1969, he signed on with Frank A. Wiley & Sons, selling supplies to the baking and confection industries. The following year, he became a salesman for the packaging supplier Great West Paper Box Co.

In 1971, he launched Charlie’s Chocolate Factory as a part-time venture, but as the business grew, he left sales for a full-time commitment as president of the company, which manufactures and retails boxed and bulk candy, personalized chocolate and novelties, and supplies for home candy making. Readers of the local newspaper, Burnaby Now, have voted Charlie’s Chocolate Factory “Best Chocolate Store in Burnaby” four times.

Charlie cites the decision in the late 1990s to buy J.S. Chocolate Molds and develop a niche market for moulds and premium chocolate as his greatest professional accomplishment.

Since joining Retail Confectioners International (RCI) in 1976, he served three years on its board of directors, and has been the recipient of the association’s Silver Bowl Award for his seasonal and advertising concepts. RCI recognized his success in recruiting new members with the Gene Moss Award in 1997; it has also celebrated his achievements in hosting the regional convention, board service and chairing the organization’s Candy Clinic.

Married 60 years to Joan, they have four children, Colin, Blair, Sharon and Shelly, and two grandchildren, Ellen and Shannon. Both of his sons and granddaughter Ellen work with Charlie in the Burnaby, BC, office and store and Port Coquitlam, BC, facility.

Charlie is an active supporter of the Union Gospel Mission, Variety — The Children’s Charity, the Burnaby Hospital Foundation and the Burnaby Firefighters. He is a member of the Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses, and the Willingdon M.B. Church.