Love is big business for Port Washington stores

For The Chocolate Chisel and Coca Lena, Valentine’s Day is the busiest holiday of the year

AT THE CHOCOLATE CHISEL, chocolatier Brooke Cole (left) held an assortment of Valentine’s Day treats made in-house with owners Elizabeth MacCrimmon and John Reichert. They said the No. 1 selling item this time of year is chocolate covered strawberries. Photo by Sam Arendt
Ozaukee Press staff

A couple of Port Washington confectionaries are helping customers show their affection to loved ones this Valentine’s Day by offering sweet seasonal treats.

“I think candy and chocolates are right up there with roses and jewelry,” Coca Lena owner Melissa Suddendorf said. “We get pretty excited about Valentine’s Day because it’s right up our alley.”

She said her store at 327 N. Franklin St. is experiencing steady foot traffic leading up to the holiday on Feb. 14. Suddendorf also said she is a bit surprised to see the vast majority of online shipments are going to California and Texas. She recommends getting orders in by Monday, Feb. 11, to ensure the deliveries are made on time.

She said the top selling items leading up to Valentine’s Day are heart and lip-shaped candies.

This year, Suddendorf is offering candygrams to the elderly living at area senior homes, and she’s calling on customers to help the cause by writing cards at a workstation in the store.

“We’re asking all our customers and the general public to help us make the paper valentines,” she said, noting youngsters from Port Pre-School and Lincoln Elementary School took a field trip to the store to write letters.

Suddendorf is cross promoting her goods by pairing certain candies and chocolates with designer jewelry at her store Pear & Simple across the street.

At The Chocolate Chisel, Valentine’s Day has an extra special meaning for owners John Reichert and Elizabeth MacCrimmon, who will celebrate the 10-year anniversary of their business on the date.

“We weren’t sure if we would be in business for 10 years because we opened in the middle of the financial crisis in 2009,” MacCrimmon said. “This is a very sweet anniversary for us, and we want to celebrate it with our customers.”

Reichert agreed with his business partner and wife, adding his intuition told him the business would persevere through the volatile economy.

“Everyone likes chocolate, and I felt the stock market wouldn’t hurt their sweet tooth,” he said.

Chocolatier Brooke Cole makes all of the chocolates in the store at 125 W. Grand Ave.

“There’s so much thought that goes into the chocolate. Nothing happens by accident,” she said. “I love seeing people ooh and ahh over the chocolates.”

MacCrimmon said the most popular item this time of year is chocolate covered strawberries and she recommends pre-ordering the treats. She said she laughs to herself when she sees husbands and boyfriends in a frantic search for a last-minute Valentine’s Day gift.

“We’re always happy when we can stop a panic attack because someone doesn’t know what to get their loved one,” MacCrimmon said.

Right before Valentine’s Day, the store will introduce hot fudge in jars, and the couple believes it will quickly become a top gift-giving item.

Reichert ran a pewter sculpting business for 20 years and uses his artistic creativity to cast molds for the chocolates.

The store also sells ice cream made on site. Reichert wants to create a pink-cherry concoction with candy hearts for Valentine’s Day.

The couple added a drink room a couple of years ago. One of the featured specials this season is a steamed milk called Forbidden Love. Reichert and MacCrimmon eventually want to move the kitchen in order to expand the drink room.

While it’s not on the menu yet, Reichert is beginning to produce chocolate bars with cannabidiol, a non-psychoactive derivative of the hemp plant, better known as CBD.

“I’ve found that chocolate and CBD really go well together. Both ingredients help you relax, and you can’t taste the CBD at all,” he said.

As Valentine’s Day draws near, both stores are gearing up for customer demand and are ready to deliver.

“Valentine’s Day is kind of like our Super Bowl,” Suddendorf said. “It beats out all the other holidays by a landslide.”




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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

125 E. Main St.
Port Washington, WI 53074
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