Belgian Leonidas Chocolates
Leonidas CEO, Philippe de Selliers, mentioned in one of his interviews that we ate chocolate just to have happiness. We could live without chocolate, definitely. But could we live without happiness?
Back in 1910, Leonidas Kestekides, the founder of the Leonidas brand, also wondered if we really could. He shared his idea of happiness in the form of chocolate confections of his own creation at the World Exhibition in Brussels, and won the bronze medal.
Since then, spreading happiness with beautiful high-quality chocolate has become the main goal of Leonidas Kestekides and his business.
One Century History of Giving
Leonidas Kestekides believed that the act of giving could make people happy. This philosophy has become the core of his confectionary business, which has been eagerly continued and expanded by his successors for more than a hundred years.
The young emigrant from Greece, who sold sweets on the streets of Nigdi, his home town, supplied wine across Italy, and moved to the United States after going bankrupt, finally found his vocation in Belgium.
In 1913, in Ghent, Kestekides opened his first tearoom. Could the entrepreneur imagine that after exactly one hundred years, in 2013, King Philippe of Belgium would officially recognize Leonidas as one of the certified purveyors to the royal household?
Wherever Leonidas Kestekides is now, he can be proud of his achievement.
But the grand sustainable success of the chocolate brand must also be credited to his dedicated family.
In 1922, Leonidas engaged his nephew, Basilio Kestekides, to the business. Their two-year cooperation resulted in the sweet conquest of Brussels, the chocolate capital of the world.
Besides, it was Basilio who introduced the name and logo of the brand. The name “Leonidas” and the image of Greek warrior king Leonidas I as the logo became a tribute of respect for his uncle’s accomplishment. In 1937, Basilio registered the brand with Brussels.
Today, Leonidas is a worldwide known chocolate maker, loved for exquisite sweets and affordable prices. The company offers one hundred kinds of different chocolates at almost 1,400 stores around the globe and online.
Have they ever wondered how many people they make happy every day?
More Interesting Facts About Leonidas
To become the brand people know and trust in the 21st century, Leonidas had to prove its quality, sustainability, and affordability for many years. But the company still has no room for complacency.
In Brussels, Basilio Kestekides started with selling pralines on the streets. But the local police warned him that he should do it in a shop. So, Basilio rented a small and narrow room that did not even have a door onto the street. To attract customers, Basilio displayed the sweets on the windowsill and sold them from the sash window. And in almost one hundred years, we can see how successful his solution was.
The Leonidas brand survived World War II. Probably, some entrepreneurial flair prompted Basilio to procure a large stock of cocoa and sugar before the war, so he could keep production going during all those years. What is more, at that time, the Leonidas sweets were not an extravagant indulgence but an affordable source of cream, sugar, vitamins and minerals.
Until today, the brand is famous for using high-quality ingredients to produce chocolate and other sweets. Everything from cocoa and milk to nuts and oranges is carefully selected to create confectionery that people want to try and share.
At the same time, Leonidas is convinced that happiness must be affordable both to an average family and to the royal family. Even though neither office worker nor king can buy happiness as is, everyone should be able to buy some chocolate and share it with their dearest and nearest.
For more than a century, this idea has remained fundamental for Leonidas’ production and communication with the world.