Updated Mon, Feb 6, 2012 2:57 pm
The business isn't new, but the location is a change of scenery for one Athens chocolatier.
Although O’Chocolate is not a new business within the community, the new store on Court Street is the first permanent vender location for the popular chocolates.
Owner Stacy Peters moved to the Athens area about six years ago and has been making chocolate since 2010.
Locals have acquired her sweets at the Athens Farmers Market and, for a short time, at the Village Bakery, located on East State Street. “I started making the truffles as gifts and eventually started selling at the farmers market on East State,” Peters said. "After awhile, I expanded and started putting the bars and truffles at other locations," said Peters.
With the advice of others and the hopes of making her products better known, Peters decided to open the shop.
Peters thinks what makes her products different from others is that she uses only fair trade ingredients, and she says she does her best to buy local. Many of the ingredients in her chocolates come from surrounding area companies like Snowville Creamery, Ancient Roots, Sticky Pete’s Maple Syrup, and Bella Vino.
Peters said having a permanent establishment will allow her to produce more product and enable her to sell on a daily basis.
“Being in a permanent area is nice," Peters said. "[It is] something I am not used to. I don’t have to sell something in four hours like I had to at the market. If what I make doesn’t sell in the same day I still have the opportunity to sell it tomorrow."
O’Chocolate products are sold in other cities besides Athens as well. The chocolate bars are now available at Celebrate Local in Easton Center, located in Columbus, and can also be found at Hills Market, located in Downtown Columbus.
Having sold her treats in many locations around Athens, Peters has established a strong customer base, according to Kelly Cooke, a frequent purchaser of O'Chocolate goods.
“I think [Peters] is really filling in a niche," Cooke said. "I mean, I think in Athens, we have the continuum of local products which is awesome, but we didn’t have chocolate. So it's awesome that she is using local products to you know, fill everyone’s sweet tooth."
A Pennsylvania native, Peters believes Athens is unlike other areas when it comes to local businesses. “Local business does very well around here, and I wanted to take the opportunity at my place to showcase the products of other area businesses," Peters said. "In the coming weeks, I hope to have at least one product from different places in my store so that my customers can see the network of small local businesses in Athens."
An opening celebration is planned for February 11. The Chocolate Soiree will take place from 7 to 8:30 p.m. and guests will be able to try free samples of truffles and chocolate bars.