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News > Press Releases > Press Release

Press Release

Release Date: March 06, 2006

by Tony Choate

  • Bedre' manager Jeff Case (right) with Oklahoma District 22 Representative Wes Hilliard during Bedre' Day at the Oklahoma State Capitol

  • Rep. Wes Hilliard, Kim Kennedy, Bedre' manager Jeff Case, Rep. Lisa Billy and Amber England pose with the Bedre' Day Citation at the Oklahoma State Capitol

Dozens of legislators, staff members, pages and guests enjoyed a taste Oklahoma’s finest chocolate during Bedre’ Day at the Oklahoma State Capitol Wednesday, Feb. 22.

Sponsored by Representatives Wes Hilliard and Lisa Billy along with Senators Johnnie Crutchfield and Susan Paddack, the event highlighted the success of Bedre’ (Norwegian for "better") Fine Chocolates.

Rep. Hilliard said Bedre’ Day was modeled after similar events at the capitol highlighting Oklahoma businesses.
"I was thinking ‘what could we highlight in our area that is from House District 22, and I thought of Bedre’ instantly," said Rep. Hilliard. "I don’t think all legislators realize the economic impact that the Chickasaw Nation has on the state of Oklahoma other than gaming.

"We wanted to show the business aspect because (the Chickasaw Nation) is doing a great job in the businesses and industries. Our whole purpose today was to educate the members of the legislature and have a lot of fun too and show that we do have one of the finest chocolates here in Oklahoma."

Rep. Lisa Billy was a member of the tribal legislature when the Chickasaw Nation purchased Bedre’ in 2001.
"In cosponsoring Bedre’ Day, one of my goals was to build better relationships with other house members," said Rep. Billy. "Part of my goal as a member of the Oklahoma House of Representatives and as a member of the Chickasaw Nation is to educate house members who are non-native on what businesses the tribes are building and Bedre’ Chocolates is a wonderful business.

"(This event) goes along with our Native American caucus goals. The Native American caucus is a brand new idea in the Oklahoma Legislature. And this fits right in with our goals of building better relationships in Oklahoma government and educating house members on what tribes are doing."

Prior to the opening of the Pauls Valley factory, the company produced chocolates in Ada for mail order sale to individuals and more than 200 wholesale accounts world-wide.

Since opening its Pauls Valley factory in July, 2003, Bedre’ Chocolates has tripled annual sales and made changes in operations which will allow it to continue expansion far into the future, according to manager Jeff Case.

After some research, Case decided to move from hand-made candies to a more automated system of production.
"Some people asked if going to a more automated system would lower the quality of the product, but actually the quality is even better now," said Case. "With the new system, the ingredient mix is precisely controlled, giving us a superior, and more consistent, product."

Custom-made equipment manufactured in Europe proved to be the most efficient and effective way to increase production and maintain quality.

Since the new Bedre’ Chocolates factory has been open, the facility has become a favored tour destination for school and church groups of all ages.

"We have had at least one or two tour groups per day in here for several months," said Case. "Recently, we had two or three drop in tours along with a couple of scheduled tours. So there were more than 200 that took the tour that day alone."

Tour guides explain the process of making caramel and mixing different types of chocolate.

Tour groups also learn about the function of the large enrobers used to cover potato chips, nuts and other items with chocolate as well as the process of pouring chocolate into forms to make coins and other specialty items.