After about a year and a half of business in downtown Sarasota, Peterbrooke Chocolatier is moving across town, hoping to capture a clientele that doesn’t fluctuate as much during the local off-season.
The chocolate shop, which opened at 76 S. Palm Ave. in late 2017, plans to open its new 2,000-square-foot shop at 8105 Cooper Creek Boulevard, next to Bonefish Grill on the Manatee County side of the University Town Center district. Karen Andrews, who owns the Sarasota Peterbrooke with her husband, Michael, said that she hopes to be up and running by next week.
Business downtown is very seasonal, Andrews said. She’s hoping things will be different in the University Town Center location.
“A lot of people have said, ‘Oh thank god, you’re moving closer to where we live,’” she said.
The new shop is about 900 square feet bigger than the one on Palm Avenue. On Monday, pretty much everything had been moved over to the University store except the gelato machine, Andrews said. The bigger location means there will be more seating, and more room in the kitchen for kid and adult chocolate-making camps. The old kitchen could hold about six people, whereas this new one can fit about 10 or 20, Andrews said.
Andrews said she currently has four employees, and will probably need to hire three or four more for the new shop. She said she wants to hire people who are genuinely interested in learning how to do chocolate — you kind of have to love it if you want to work there.
Peterbrooke is a franchise company based in Jacksonville. That’s where the gelato is made. Andrews says she orders what gelato flavors she wants from Jacksonville. Chocolate-covered popcorn, a best-seller, is also made in Jacksonville for the sake of efficiency, but pretty much everything else is done in-house.
The company sells things like chocolate-covered Oreos, Nutter Butters and graham crackers, chocolate pizza, gift baskets and more. Peterbrooke has 20 locations in Florida, according to its website. The Manatee County shop will be open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays.