AUSTINBURG TOWNSHIP — A company that started in a Conneaut kitchen, expanded to Bridge Street in Ashtabula is now headed to an expansion in Austinburg Township.
“We started two years ago,” said Marianne’s Chocolates owner Troy Dalrymple.
He said they looked at around 10 locations in Ashtabula County and Madison with easy access to Interstate 90.
He said after careful research the company picked the Route 45 exit on the west side of Route 45 adjacent to the southbound ramp of Interstate 90 for the construction of a 4,000-square foot facility that will include a 2,500-square foot retail store.
The company has been open throughout the pandemic because it is considered a food manufacturer. The Ashtabula Harbor store was able to expand store space for sales because they moved the production facility to a building on Lake Avenue, Dalrymple said.
“We will employ nine [people] out there [in Austinburg Township],” Dalrymple said.
He said the Harbor store will remain open as well.
Heavy equipment is on the site and construction is scheduled to begin soon, Dalrymple said. He said they hope to open in October if all goes well.
Dalrymple said the new facility will allow the company to produce slight adaptions of present products, including a line of white chocolate.
The company started in 1963 in Marian Fedor’s kitchen, eventually moved to downtown Conneaut and Dalrymple purchased it in 2007.
“We were in Conneaut for two years,” he said.
The company then moved to Bridge Street and expanded its operations.
“We distribute to 50 different locations,” Dalrymple said.
Dalrymple said he already works with a lot of the wineries and other area tourist attractions.
“We can hopefully be used as a gateway to the community. I think it is going to be a good fit,” he said.
Ashtabula County Convention and Visitors Bureau Executive Director Stephanie Siegel said any retail growth is great for the community and the opportunity to provide sweets for travelers is a good thing.
“Every tourist is looking for a good chocolate shop,” she said.