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Downtown Market vendor expands into chocolates
The owner of an ice cream shop at the Grand Rapids Downtown Market has expanded his business to include chocolates and confections.
In April, Chris McKellar — owner of Love’s Ice Cream at the Downtown Market, at 435 Ionia Ave. SW — closed his two businesses next to the Love’s space, Rocket Pies and Relish Green Grocer, to expand the Love’s brand.
With the help of Grand Rapids-based D&D Building over the summer, McKellar converted the side-by-side spaces totaling 3,126 square feet into an all-in-one ice cream, chocolate and confectionery shop under the name Love’s Ice Cream & Chocolates.
Love’s Ice Cream & Chocolates has 13 employees who are cross-trained to do both ice cream, chocolate and confectionery production and service. McKellar expects to hire more in the summer busy season.
The combined space includes customer seating, as well as retail and production space.
A grand-opening celebration will be held on Dec. 8, offering customers two free bonbons with each scoop of ice cream purchased.
McKellar said the chocolate shop’s offerings have gradually ramped up since a soft opening in August in conjunction with the Downtown Market’s fifth-anniversary celebration.
“Our primary items are bonbons — with meticulous, high-caliber ingredients,” McKellar said. “Sometimes, we call them truffles in America, but those are round, and these are square. It’s a French pastry.”
The shop also offers various caramels and toffees, along with chocolate-coated nuts and coffee beans.
McKellar retained the on-premises liquor license obtained for the previous businesses, so Love’s now offers wine-and-chocolate pairings, cocktail floats, beer on tap, wine and mixed drinks.
“We’re not trying to be a bar, but an ice cream shop that’s a little more classy,” McKellar said.
In addition to its retail operation, the business offers wholesale gift packages and catering for corporate events and weddings.
Love’s is open from 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday.