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Mary and Paul Schellhammer plan to open their first Spice Rack Chocolates shop in Spotsylvania Towne Centre in August
Mary Schellhammer and her husband, Paul, will open their first Spice Rack Chocolates store in August.
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By Cathy Jett
Imagine being able to create your very own chocolate bar.
Would you start with milk chocolate or dark? Add a dash of smoky chipotle or perhaps a dollop of tart lemon?
Beginning in early August, shoppers at Spotsylvania Towne Centre will get to place a custom order for just such bars, watch as they're being created and then pick them up once they've cooled.
That's just one of the many treats Spotsylvania County entrepreneurs Mary and Paul Schellhammer will have in store when they open their first Spice Rack Chocolates shop in an 1,800-square-foot space next to Starbucks in the mall. It was formerly a Sbarro.
"I want to make it the place that everybody thinks of when they want something chocolate," Mary Schellhammer said. "It will be the go-to place for chocolate."
The shop will have a glass partition so customers can watch her and her staff as they make the same Spice Rack chocolates they sell online at spicerackchocolates.com and to other retailers. These include candies flavored with fresh lemon and sweet basil, and Fire Antz, which are dark chocolate chipotle peanuts.
They'll also make and sell some chocolates that will be available only at the shop. Possibilities include the chocolate-covered peanut-butter cups Mary Schellhammer loves to make for her son Cameron, a rising senior at the University of Virginia.
"They're his favorite treat," she said.
Even more interesting chocolates will be available at a "creation station," where customers can order either a milk- or dark-chocolate bar customized with their choice of two of 40 toppings.
"They can make their own bars for weddings, baby showers, graduation," Schellhammer said. "We'll make it for them, but they'll choose the toppings."
There also will be a 12-foot-long bulk candy counter where customers can find the kinds of upscale chocolates that the Schellhammers seek out on their travels but can't find here.
Most stores carry the same brands of chocolates because it's easier for them to place large orders with one company than to work with many small vendors, she explained. But that limits consumers' options.
"I think Fredericksburg is ready for upscale chocolate," Schellhammer said.