Arnold Grad Launches Clever Line of Hot Chocolate

Packaging finally puts an end to how to pronounce the name.

Beesh-ler or Besh-ler. Which is it? Ashley Andreas cleverly spells it out on the packaging of her new line of hot cocoa mixes that are now being sold across the United States: it’s BEESHler!

“As long as I can remember, there’s always been some discrepancy in how to pronounce my maiden name, Beshaler. Both are right I suppose, but I grew up as Ashley (pronounced) Beesh-ler, which is how I remember most of us in Arnold saying it. As I grew older and our family met extended family members, the pronunciation of Besh-ler became used more and more. Since I am now an Andreas, I wanted a company that leaves a legacy of my birth name the way I remember it and slyly, to promote the ‘right’ way of pronouncing it,” said Ashley with a grin.

Ashley, who is the daughter of John and Mary Beshaler, graduated from A.H.S. in 2001 and went on to receive a degree in psychology from Nebraska Wesleyan University. After graduating from college, she married and moved to Sidney, Nebraska, where her husband was working. She started a master’s degree in clinical psychology and began working at Cabela’s corporate offices. After a handful of months, she realized that clinical psychology was not for her, but thoroughly appreciated the corporate culture of Cabela’s. There, she started a career in human resources.

As she was working for Cabela’s there came a time in 2017 when the purchase of the company became evident. Like most of the employees at the time, the uncertainty of the future started a natural process of brainstorming the ‘what’s next’ in career, livelihood, location, etc. Options ranged from gutsy start-ups – like hot chocolate – to more traditional, risk-adverse ideas. With worthwhile offers from the new company, Bass Pro Shops, and a young family, the Andreases made the decision to stay in corporate careers and move down to headquarters in Springfield, Missouri.

A few years later, after needing both a more creative outlet and a business challenge, Beshaler Hot Chocolate was born in the fall of 2020. For a while, it was just a side hustle on top of Ashley’s HR leadership role at Bass Pro. Then, later in 2021, Ashley was able to put much more time and effort into the growing business.

Beshaler Hot Chocolate is hot chocolate with packaging personality. There are several flavors, with classic and some clever names such as “Flannel Jams” and “Mom Jeans.”

“I love watching customers giggle about the flavor names and mugs and hearing comments about the packaging,” said Ashley. “I think I’ve got a pretty good recipe. The drink is creamier with a fuller feel than any others. Even when making it with water, it tastes like it was mixed with milk. People drink hot chocolate for fun occasions and in enjoyable environments. It’s a product that allows for a lot of fun.”

The process of making and packaging the mix is extremely manual, but with help from husband Klint, who has won the company’s (non-existent) Employee of the Month award consecutively over the last four months, and the couple’s oldest daughters, Elliot, age 9, and Lennon, age 6, who can fold boxes with the best of them and are great at keeping inventory and product testing, the Beshaler Hot Chocolate gets churned out for shipping. The couple’s two other children, daughter Jude and son Walsh, ages 2, will no doubt step up to the production line in the future.

Last year, Ashley said it took about five minutes a box between measuring, sealing, and labeling. They’ve now cut it down to about 1 to 2 minutes a box. They made up some of that time in automating the measuring of each package through the purchase of a machine and mostly in eliminating labels. Now all of the information is printed directly on the boxes.

Of course, with a husband, four kids, and a new business venture, Ashley needs more help than in the production of the product. It goes far beyond her immediate family. She hires out some of the design and marketing efforts. Her extended family have been a tremendous help in promoting the business, getting samples out, working show booths, editing the website, and watching kids while Ashley is on the road.

“I absolutely could not do this without the amazing people in my life,” she said. By far, the best support I have received is from my wonderful family and great hometown of Arnold! What everyone has done for Beshaler Hot Chocolate and me is extremely humbling and ever so cherished. Orders, Facebook shares, and reviews have not gone unnoticed and I appreciate all those who have been a part of the company in any capacity thus far.”

Beshaler Hot Chocolate is now in 26 stores across 11 states, ranging from California to New Jersey. The product can be purchased in area communities of Arnold, Stapleton, Ord, and Ainsworth or on her website BeshalerHotChocolate.com.

Ashley’s goals for the future of the business include continuing to automate and find efficiencies, expanding on opportunities to offer the product for fundraising events as well as growing the corporate/client gifting business, and continuing to grow direct sales and the businesses’ retail footprint. So thanks to Ashley, the Beshaler name – known here for over 100 years – is on a product that is being launched across the country.

Article by: Janet Larreau

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