Kate McAleer founded Bixby Chocolate in December 2011 (almost 2012). Kate represents a new breed of young entrepreneurs. This new breed is boldly breaking away from traditional career paths to pursue their passions.
Kate’s passion is chocolate, and she is a socially responsible business owner who is very supportive of her local Maine community of Rockland.
This young entrepreneur’s life experiences have shaped every aspect of the Bixby Chocolate manufacturing company. Kate’s strong relationships with her family and her community have been the inspiration for her recipes. She is also motivated by leading an active, health-conscious lifestyle.
After graduating from New York University, Kate combined her interests in cultural history with the culinary arts. She earned diplomas in pastry arts and culinary management from the esteemed Institute of Culinary Education in Manhattan. She also earned certificates from the Ecole Chocolate in Vancouver, British Columbia. Ever determined to improve herself and her skills, Kate is now a candidate for an MBA in Food Marketing from St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, PA.
In 2006, Kate faced one of the greatest challenges of her life when her mother, Donna, was diagnosed with advanced breast cancer. Today, her mother, Donna, in spite of having chronic breast cancer, leads a full and engaged life. New types of cancer medications have allowed cancer patients like Donna to live a ‘new normal’ life with an advanced cancer diagnosis. As a result, her family always seeks clean foods and a chemical-free environment in their home. Donna’s courageous example has greatly influenced Kate’s mission and motivation. --- is an inspiration to all who know her.
All Bixby products are manufactured in a 125-year-old former ice plant located on a working marina in Rockland, ME, on Maine’s mid-coast. Over time, Bixby has been restoring this historic building.
Kate ensures that the quality organic cocoa beans are directly sourced from Caribbean countries such as the Dominican Republic and Haiti, Belize and Central America’s Guatemala. Kate has visited these areas where she met the farmers who produce the cocoa beans that Bixby Chocolate sources.
Bixby Chocolate’s innovations include producing its own chocolate straight from the cocoa bean for several new bean-to-bar chocolate bars, and its newly created chocolate bonbons, chocolate nibs and chocolate-covered coffee beans.
Bixby’s original and creative chocolate confections are made from ethically sourced ingredients. Bixby Bars, Peanut Butter Bites, Caramel Bites and Clusters, to name a few, bear certifications that include:
- Kosher, Gluten-Free
Bixby Chocolate products are also Rainforest Alliance Certified, and the company is certified Women-Owned. Many Bixby Chocolate products are distributed to nationally recognized stores.
The Bixby name comes from Kate’s great-great grandparents, native New Englanders, whose last name was Bixby.
Kate and Bixby have won a few awards and competitions including:
2014 - Gorham Savings Bank LaunchPad Winner
2016 - Tory Burch Foundation Fellow and Pitch Winner
2019 - Small Business Administration Maine's Young Entrepreneur of the Year
2021 - Greenlight Maine Grand Prize
Kate’s mother, Donna, has been working with the Audubon Society’s Project Puffin. They have partnered in the development of three newly created Puffin chocolate confections that Bixby makes. Bixby Chocolate will donate five percent of the sales of the Puffin chocolate confections to Project Puffin. The Project is protecting the iconic Puffin bird which graces the coastline of Maine.