FAIR LAWN, N.J. — Andrea V. Collins hasn't wasted a second since launching her Chocolate Works franchise in Fair Lawn.
Birthdays, ladies nights, date nights, workshops, private parties -- and kids events that allow them to work the 18-foot long enrobing machine, decorate creations, and take home candies -- have kept her busy.
“Every guest gets to be a chocolatier for the day,” Collins said, as a customer passed milk and dark chocolate vats tempering near the storefront window.
In the middle of the shop sits a 4-foot chocolate fountain. Lots of colorful candy treats and gifts line the walls.
Confectionery delight is worlds away from her first career in the New York textile industry. She and her husband had spent 13 years raising their children in Wyckoff when Collins found herself ready for a new opportunity.
“I spent eight or nine months looking for property and didn’t want to be too far from home," she said.
Collins "loves" the new promenade off Route 208.
Chocolate Works was established by another somewhat unlikely candy maker, West Point graduate and Iraq War veteran Joe Whaley, whose family had been in the handcrafted candy business for 40 years.
The business has become one of the largest suppliers of chocolate gifts, with thousands of molds, along with unique novelty items.
Collins, who opened the doors on July 16, has nine employees -- and can use the help.
Although the big holidays are still a ways off, she's had a number of summer orders to go with those for Halloween and Rosh Hashanah.
But Collins isn't complaining: Being an entrepreneur allows her to interact with the community.
“Candy, and a chocolate shop, and everyone says – wow!" she said. "It is a happy, happy place to work.”
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