MAINE CHOCOLATE COMPANY LAUNCHES NEW NAME
(Westbrook, Maine - September 14, 2020) Black Dinah Chocolatiers – the award-winning, Maine-based makers of signature chocolate truffles and sea salt caramels – has officially changed their name to Ragged Coast Chocolates.
“We believe that Ragged Coast Chocolates pays homage to our hardy island roots while also celebrating Maine’s unique beauty and traditions, which we work hard to reflect in our handmade chocolates,” says company co-owner Kate Shaffer.
The company contracted with Toderico Creative, a Portland-based design company, to create the Ragged Coast Chocolates logo. The new logo features a strong, hand-embellished font, and a unique puffin icon.
“Maine is the only state in the US that has Atlantic puffin nesting sites,” says Ms. Shaffer. “We feel that the icon is evocative of how the landscape and food sources in Maine uniquely influence both the look and the fun creative development of our chocolates.”
As part of the new brand launch, Ragged Coast Chocolates is partnering with Friends of Maine Coastal Islands National Wildlife Refuge (FOMCI) for a fourth quarter fundraising campaign to benefit the organization’s work to conserve island nesting sites for seabirds in Maine. Ragged Coast Chocolates will offer a limited edition gift set which will feature a custom chocolate assortment, a campaign t-shirt, and a full-color map of Maine’s seabird nesting islands. A percentage of profits from the Gift Set will be donated directly to FOMCI.
Ms. Shaffer announced the intent to change the company’s name to their newsletter subscribers and in a public statement on the their social media pages on June 9th. In the statement, Shaffer explained that the timing was in response to and support of the Black Lives Matter movement and the nationwide protests for racial justice. The Shaffers named the company for Black Dinah Mountain on the island of Isle au Haut, Maine. However, the name “Black Dinah” can also refer to a generic term for Black female slaves. There is no recorded history as to why the Isle au Haut landmark bears the name Black Dinah (also spelled Black Dina on some maps).
In a public statement on her social media pages on June 19th, Shaffer wrote, “I have always imagined that if Black Dinah Mountain was named for an actual person or persons, she was strong and powerful and wise. But I’m beginning to understand that it is not my place, nor the place of my brand - perceived or actual - to use her name…for profit or to push my own unrelated agenda.”
The company had been considering a name change since their move from Isle au Haut in 2015. They were not, at any point, pressured by any person or persons to change their name. Owners Steve and Kate Shaffer have received numerous queries about the name over the years, and in the fall of 2019, decided to pursue a name change out of respect and consideration for the BIPOC community, as well as to poise the company for entrance into a larger national market.
“We do a lot of explaining,” Shaffer says. “No small company needs that kind of barrier. It feels both practical and meaningful to approach the end of 2020 with engagement, evolving perspectives, and hope.”
ABOUT RAGGED COAST CHOCOLATES
Kate and Steve Shaffer founded Ragged Coast Chocolates (formerly Black Dinah Chocolatiers) in 2007 on Isle au Haut, Maine. In 2015, the company relocated to Southern Maine, where they continue to work with a small team to create their line of handmade chocolates.
The chocolate company is known for their innovative use of fresh, local ingredients, as well as their commitment to use direct and fair trade chocolates from Latin America.
Ragged Coast Chocolates has been awarded two national Good Food Awards, was lauded as one of the 10 top chocolatiers in North America by Dessert Professional magazine, and has been written about in publications such as Gourmet Magazine, Martha Stewart Living, the Boston Globe, New York Times, Yankee Magazine, and Down East Magazine, among others.