By Jill Nagy
People can indulge their Charlie and the
Chocolate Factory fantasies at Kilwins, a
new candy shop at 422 Broadway in Saratoga
Springs in the new Washington building.
The bustling shop, called The Chocolate
Cafe, makes more than half of the products it
sells, including ice cream, on site. Most of the
rest comes from the Kilwins plant in Petoskey,
Mich., though some baked goods come from the
Placid Baker in Troy.)
The offerings are mostly chocolate, ranging
from bars to truffles, as well as a variety of flavors
of hand-crafted fudge and other specialties
like peanut brittle and caramel apples. Some
of the treats are prepared in the front of the
store where customers can watch.
The shop opened Aug. 2. Its owner, Bill Hoffman, is full of admiration for his landlord, Bonacio Construction. “It was not easy to get me and the (Northshire Bookstore, next door) in at the same time and in August,” he said. The two stores will share the Washington building with 14 apartments, a spa and other businesses.
Hoffman is in the process of completing construction of a cafe that will connect with both the candy store and the book store. He hopes to open soon. The cafe will serve soup, salads, sandwiches, coffee and other beverages. “It will be a quiet little spot to take a book and sit and read,” he said. iPads will be available for reading. “I’ll do a very good coffee,” he said, “but I won’t try to compete with Uncommon Ground,” a coffee shop less than a block away.
Despite what Hoffman refers to as a “strong informal relationship,” there is no business relationship between the book store and the candy shop. He expects Northshire to use the cafe space for readings, book group meetings and other events.
Hoffman grew up in Loudonville and graduated from Shaker High School, but he left the area soon afterward. He lived in Michigan for a while, where he discovered Kilwins chocolates “and I loved them.” He later moved to Newport, R.I., and, after six years working there, felt a need for a career change and wanted to enter a completely different field. That was when he opened his first Kilwins.
Recently, he was looking for a location for a second outlet and settled on Saratoga Springs, a city he knew from visits to his family who still live in the area. Now, he is planning to move to Saratoga.
“It’s an absolutely wonderful community,” he said.
The store has three full-time employees and the equivalent of four more in the form of part timers, mostly students. After the summer, he expects to cut back to three or four full-time employees supplemented by some part-time help on the weekends.
Kilwins can be reached at 683-3500. Its website is www.kilwins.com.