When it comes to chocolate, more is better.
That's the motivation, at least in part, behind Chocolatier Constance Popp's new St. Boniface location, which opens Friday, Aug. 23.
The new chocolate shop, located at 180 Provencher Road, is twice the size of the company's original Portage Avenue location in St. James.
"I know (business) will grow because we will definitely have more walk-by traffic," says owner and chocolatier Constance Menzies.
She had been thinking about expanding for more than a year. When Menzies spotted a 'for lease' sign in the window of an old print shop on Provencher Road, she jumped.
"I love being this close to downtown. I love being this close to The Forks," she says.
The larger chocolate shop represents a big step in the evolution of her business, says Menzies, who worked in natural resource management before becoming a chocolatier.
Inside the kitchen at Chocolatier Constance Popp's new St. Boniface location--Ron Menzies (left) and Kimberly Cowan help make chocolates for the new boutique which opens Aug. 23. (Robin Summerfield)
The expanded shop and café will also sell coffee, pastries by Epi de Blé, a French patisserie on Main Street, and three custom ice creams by Cornell Cream, an artisanal creamery near Anola, Manitoba.
"In some ways, it feels like we're starting all over again."
Six years ago, Menzies opened her St. James location after briefly making chocolates at a rented commercial kitchen. Her business has gradually grown to include corporate contracts, special events, weddings and restaurant orders. (Menzies is still looking for a new tenant to sub-let the St. James location.)
Her house-made truffles, bon bons and chocolates are made using Belgium chocolate and a roster of Manitoba ingredients including hemp, flax, sunflower seeds, honey, beets, birch tree syrup. Late last year, she opened her second location in the concourse inside Richardson Centre.
Constance Menzies, owner of Chocolatier Constance Popp, stands beside a mural adorning her new St. Boniface chocolate shop. The shop is twice the size of her original St. James location. (Robin Summerfield)
Menzie's new St. Boniface chocolate shop is one of several new food-related businesses--including Café Postal, Chaise Café and Lounge, Cocoabeans Bakeshop and Chez Sophie sur le Pont--to open in Winnipeg's French Quarter in the past year.
Despite Menzies' nerves about opening a bigger shop and moving across the city, she admits things are different this time around. She's not starting from zero, she knows how to navigate city bureaucracy, oversee construction, and set up a new business.
"Now I have a whole sense of the rhythm, the routine of it."
There's only one more thing Menzies, who also bought a condo in St. Boniface, really needs to do in order to fit into her new neighbourhood.
"I have to learn French."
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