By Jill Nagy
After four years of building a customer base through sales online, at seven area farmers’ markets and some 80 regional specialty stores, Allison Rose has opened her own retail shop, Saratoga Chocolate Co., in the Saratoga Marketplace on Broadway in Saratoga Springs.
The shop, which opened July 31, sells gourmet handmade chocolates and other sweets. “We make everything that we sell at the store,” she said.
Rose started in 2003 when she began making chocolate truffles as holiday treats for friends. She has since branched out into other chocolate confections and prides herself on balancing the right ingredients with the right chocolate.
“Every chocolate is different,” she said. She aims for a good balance between sweet and tart. Some of her candy bars incorporate chunky fruit or nuts and she also sells “decadent hot chocolate mixes.”
A native of Long Island, Rose moved to Saratoga Springs 12 years ago. Her first career, for 15 years, was as an attorney working on climate change and renewable energy projects, first for a private company and then for NYSERDA (New York State Electrical Research and Development).
“Part of me misses it,” she said. “But I was burned out a little.”
Her interest in environmental issues continues and she is always looking for ways to “green up” her processes. She is proud of the fact that her Warren County production facility, a building she owns, has a solar roof and she makes an effort to reduce waste and to drive less.
The opening of her Saratoga Springs store was delayed for four months because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Plans for expansion that may include a cafe are on hold, as are plans for a tasting option.
“People can’t taste much with a mask on,” she said. For now, “Things are going well, better than expected, all thing considered.”
She sees a lot of foot traffic and many people from out of town, within three hours of Saratoga Springs, she estimated. “People are looking for something to do” and walking around downtown Saratoga Springs satisfies the need.
“I’m really excited to be in downtown Saratoga,” Rose said. She noted that sales have remained strong throughout the pandemic.
“We are encouraged by the community support we received from our customers during this pandemic time. It is that support that has given us the confidence to launch our business into this next phase of retail, rooted in downtown Saratoga Springs.”
The shop is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. They can be found online art www.saratogachoclateco.com or by telephone at 518-222-5366.
By Jill Nagy