Marion Chocolate Shop looking to pass on business to new owners amid retirement plans | #retirement | #elderly | #seniors
MARION, Iowa (KCRG) – Answering calls and packaging chocolates is how Gae Sharp-Richardson and her husband have spent the past couple of weeks. The Chocolate Shop in Marion is open the second Saturday of each month, and their upcoming Easter Saturday event will be a special one.
“What happens is during that second Saturday of the month, we have a long line of people and we end up selling out,” said Sharp-Richardson.
It’s also special because it could be their last. They announced this week they are selling the shop and looking for new people to take over.
“I’ve always had what I have called an exit plan from the very beginning,” she said. “We’re getting older, and we’re ready to retire.”
Gae and her husband started the business after buying a chocolate shop for sale in Aitkins before expanding to buy this building in Uptown Marion.
“It’s been the best thing I’ve ever done. The customers have just been so fantastic,” she added. “They’re surprised. I think they’re kind of scared that they’re not gonna have chocolate anymore, but I want to assure that I don’t think it is going to be hard to find someone who wants to put on my shoes.”
So far it hasn’t. Their realtor says they’ve gotten dozens of inquiries since the listing went live Wednesday morning. Brooke Prouty with the Uptown Marion District says it’s sad to see them go, but she remains hopeful for the future of the shop.
“We’ve been working with Gae and talking to her about her transition plans, and so hopefully will be able to keep the chocolate shop,” Prouty said.
Prouty says they’ve been pushing to revitalize the area after some businesses left and others went out of business.
“We’ve done a lot of research this past year on what kind of businesses would be a good fit for the uptown district, and how we can market to find those new businesses, and people are calling,” she said.
For Gae, retirement means more time creating art and traveling with her husband.
“I am looking forward to being on the other side of the counter buying the chocolate and eating it like I had to pay for it,” said Gae.
As for what she’ll miss most, it’s hard to pin it down.
“The dark orange creams, and just the flavor of the chocolates. It’s been such a sweet experience. I can’t even name just one thing,” she said.
For those interested in buying the shop, they can reach out to the shop’s realtor.
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