Over 75 years ago, Godiva began as a small praline-making business run by the Draps family out of their home in Brussels, Belgium. The company was called Chocolaterie Draps until Joseph Draps decided he wanted to produce a more exclusive chocolate and open up a chocolate shop. One of the first Godiva shops still stands in the beautiful, historic Grand Place in Brussels.
Draps selected the name Godiva for his chocolate company. His inspiration came from the well-known Saxon legend of Lady Godiva who rode unclothed through the streets of Coventry to entreat her husband, Leofric the Dane, to lower taxes. Her courage prevailed, and in Europe she was celebrated in countless works of art. Little did Joseph Draps realize that over time his chocolate would become as legendary as the lady herself.
In 1966, the Draps family came into contact with the American company Campbell Soup Company, which acquired one-third of a stake in Godiva that year. Thus, the American operation of the company was the first to introduce premium chocolate to the American palette. By 1968, Godiva Chocolatier, Inc., had begun domestic production, using the exclusive Belgian recipes.
The company has continued to grow and expand over the years. The U.S. plant in Reading, PA, now produces the same amount of chocolate for the U.S. market as the Belgian plant produces for the rest of the world. There are now over 270 Retail locations as well as over 2000 Wholesale doors.