Camberwell Icon Passes
Article posted: January 30, 2012
Mr Richard Adler, best known as owner of The Chocolate Box, sadly passed away Monday November 7 at the age of 94 years old.
Many Camberwell locals will have memories of, or a story to tell about Richard, he was so much a part of the Camberwell shopping precinct for so many years. Full of energy and enthusiasm for each day, he famously swam in his outdoor pool every morning, no matter the weather, then it was off to work and this was well into his 90′s.
The original chocolate shop was called “Smile Away”, Mr Adler and his wife Rose, took over the small business in 1958 and changed the name to The Chocolate Box. With the help of their children, as they became old enough to be included in the business, The Chocolate Box grew to a chain of stores throughout Australia. Over the years the Camberwell store was regularly renovated and in 1979 grew to include and arcade of shops known as The Chocolate Box Centre. Located in the heart of the Camberwell Junction this became a popular place to meet and an icon for the precinct. The family sold the large building and it was transformed by new owners into what became Borders and now Kathmandu, but there is still a Chocolate Box shop at 761 Burke Road.
Richard was always very involved in helping to develop the Camberwell shopping precinct and was part of the original ‘Chamber of Commerce’ that later became the Camberwell Traders Association, serving as President and remaining on the committee as Vice President until 2009. He was also a driving member of The Camberwell Business Club that was established in 1948 and still operates today. Richard’s stamina and drive were legendary and he remained a very active participant until quite recently.
Many Camberwell locals will have memories of, or a story to tell about Richard, he was so much a part of the Camberwell shopping precinct for so many years.
The committee loved to hear his stories about Camberwell’s history and that of this fascinating man. Stories from the war, his time as a Foreign Legionnaire, meeting the beautiful Rose in England and establishing the store. There were battles with developers and he fortuitously pushed Council to buy up houses for car parking while it was still affordable, even apparently arranging for an elephant to parade down Burke Road to promote the precinct. He was always the one to go to if you wished to find out what was going on locally and he knew everyone.
Mr Adler died quietly in his bed, with his wife Rose by his side. His children Marion and Gary took over the business a few years ago and continue to grow and develop the very successful Chocolate Box family company, with the Camberwell store still holding a special place in chain. The Camberwell Trader’s Association and Business Club members send their condolences to the family. Richard will be very sadly missed, though warmly remembered by his colleagues, the Camberwell Business community and no doubt the generations of customers from over the years who visited The Chocolate Box.