The hand-made chocolate was a game changer
Karen Andrews remembers the moment she realized her future was in chocolate.
It was while shopping for a pizza franchise at a business expo in Tampa. She sampled Peterbrooke Chocolatier confections. In an instant she changed her business plan from pizza pie to chocolate confections.
“It’s smooth, rich, decadent, full-bodied Swiss chocolate. It’s totally different from anything else. It sells itself once someone has a taste,” Andrews said.
A year and a half ago, Karen and Michael Andrews opened a Peterbrooke Chocolatier store on Palm Avenue in downtown Sarasota.
“We enjoyed our stay there, but the space is so much larger here,” Karen said.
The couple plan to reopen their Peterbrooke Chocolatier franchise Saturday in the Shoppes at University Town Center, next door to Bonefish Grill, at 8551 Cooper Creek Blvd., #8105.
By nearly doubling their space -- from 1,100-square-feet to 2,000-square feet -- the couple will be able to hold more special events, such as dipping parties, kids camps, and birthday parties.
“We are very excited to have all the new space. It is a working kitchen and Karen hardly had any room before,” Michael Andrews said.
All of the chocolate confections are made in-house and include candies, as well as hand-dipped specialties such as chocolate-covered graham crackers, strawberries, Nutter Butters, Rice Krispy treats, S’mores, Oreos, Peanut Butter and Ritz Crackers and more.
Also offered: candy assortments in boxes of eight, 16, 24 and 32 pieces, custom molds and foils, chocolate pizzas, and treats for weddings, birthdays and other special events.
Gift packages are available starting at $10.
Finally, Peterbrooke Chocolatier sells Italian gelato and Italian coffees.
Top sellers include the chocolate-covered popcorn, Black Star Truffles, and milk sea salt caramel.
Sugar-free treats are available.
Michael Andrews recalled that he and Karen visited five or six Peterbrooke franchises when exploring opening one of their own.
“She talked to an 18-year-old who worked in the franchise in The Villages. He told her how much he enjoyed his job, and said everyone comes in happy and leaves happy. That hooked her,” Michael said.
Karen added: “It’s a happy environment. It’s a good place to be.”
The company was founded in Jacksonville by Phyllis Geiger in 1983 with a mission of bringing European candymaking to the United States. She named the company after her son, Peter, and her daughter, Brooke. There are now 20 Peterbrooke Chocolatier franchises in Florida and one each in Georgia and Alabama.
Hours are 10 a.m. - 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. For more information, visit peterbrooke.com or call 941-330-7616.