DARIEN, Conn. — "Kids come in and are in awe and say its the best place on earth," says teacher-turned-chocolatier Meredith Scheine of Chocolate Works Darien.
One of the fun highlights at Chocolate Works Darien is when party guests try to catch chocolate falling off an "I Love Lucy"-style conveyor belt that kids call the "car wash."
She and husband Greg Scheine, an entrepreneur, opened their franchise in 2015.
Back then, "I knew nothing about running a business," Meredith Scheine told Daily Voice, noting that much has changed. Just before the interview, she had given a "marketing spiel" to someone she may use for advertising.
And next week, she has been invited to speak at a business owners event about the franchise. Meredith Scheine taught for 16 years in Stamford and New York City. Greg Scheine, meanwhile, owned a car wash and check-cashing business.
The couple opened the store a-year-and-a-half ago.
"He sold his business and was home for a few years and looking for a new one," she said.
"I happened to look up businesses for sale in Connecticut. I knew nothing and Greg said, 'How are you going to run a business?'," she said. "Then I stumbled on a kids' gym in Fairfield. I called the business broker and he told me about another business, the Chocolate Works franchise, looking to open a store in Connecticut."
One day after dropping her kids off at the Darien ice rink, Meredith walked next door and found a vacant space.
"It has a lot of parking for parties, which are a big part of our business," she said.
Chocolates are made on site in the 3,000-square-foot store. It has tables and chairs and a party room for up to 40 guests.
Chocolate party highlights include the chocolate fountain for dipping treats such as strawberries or marshmallows, and pouring chocolate in molds that come in every shape and design, from high-heeled shoes to purses, and business cards.
"We have families come in as an outing. You don't need a reservation just come in and you can sit out front and make molds or dip chocolates," she said. "For parties we've had ladies' night out, banks, travel agencies, and companies do chocolate parties for team-building events and bridal showers."
With Valentine's Day around the corner, Meredith wanted to dish on ideas for sweethearts.
"We can dip long stemmed strawberries and wine bottles in dark, milk or white chocolates and have empty heart boxes in front to customize what you put in them for someone special."
Chocolate Works Darien is in the Good Wives Shopping Center, 25 Old Kings Highway N., Darien. For information, call 203-202-7067 or click here for the website.