Dozens of plastic containers of candy line two walls of one of Bellmore’s newest businesses –– Chocolate Works of Bellmore-Merrick. Above the rows of bins that hold the sweets, from Smarties to KitKats, two signs read, “Chocolate doesn’t ask silly questions. Chocolate understands.”
Rachel Levenberg, one of the shop’s owners, said that, with this sentiment in mind, she and her partner, Donna Stein, decided to bring their franchise business to the community.
“Everyone loves chocolate and candy,” Levenberg said. “It’s just a business that makes people happy. We love seeing the joy in everyone’s face when they come in here and see all that we have to offer.”
Although the pair opened Chocolate Works of Bellmore-Merrick, at 2350 Merrick Road, on Nov. 24, they are now preparing for a larger-scale grand opening on Dec. 15. The owners said they look forward to getting to know the community, as they’d like to be a part of people’s lives in a sweet way.
Levenberg, of Rockville Centre, and Stein, of Merrick, said their husbands have worked together for 10 years selling franchise businesses. Levenberg said that when they began selling Chocolate Works franchises across Long Island and New York, they immediately thought of their wives.
“They have seen every franchise concept out there,” Stein said. “When they saw this one, they said, ‘This is the one.’”
Before construction of the shop began in August, Levenberg and Stein began to transform themselves from moms who have done creative chocolate crafts with their children to self-described “chocopreneurs.” Stein said they learned about the history of chocolate and the processes involved in making Chocolate Works products, noting that she thinks the franchise offers some of the best-tasting chocolate around. “It all comes from Belgium, and it’s just really rich,” she said. “We get a lot of compliments on it.”
According to the Chocolate Works company website, the franchise is the brainchild of second-generation chocolatier and owner Joe Whaley, a West Point graduate and Iraq war veteran whose family has crafted and sold gourmet chocolates for more than 40 years. He opened the Chocolate Works corporate factory and store in Valley Stream in September 2009.