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Inside the bean-to-bar operation that is East Van Roasters, a unique social enterprise in the Downtown Eastside

Chocolate maker Shelley Bolton, who manages East Van Roasters in Vancouver, a Downtown Eastside social enterprise that is also the city’s only bean-to-bar chocolate maker.

John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail

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In a search to find meaningful work for people who live in the poverty- and drug-afflicted neighbourhood, the non-profit Portland Hotel Society hit on the idea of manufacturing chocolate.

John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail

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Employees engage in the meticulous task of shucking cacao beans from their shells.

John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail

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Sheree McKay, who lives in social housing at the Rainier Hotel, shells cocoa beans at East Van Roasters on Sept. 10, 2013.

John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail

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The success of the unique business has drawn the attention of the city of Vancouver, which plans to encourage and support other enterprises in the area.

John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail

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Sheree McKay, left, and Shelley Bolton, right, sample some chocolate at East Van Roasters.

John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail

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Bolton hopes to double production at East Van Roasters, since it currently sells out the 60 kilograms of chocolate, but it produces each week.

John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail

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