Kendra Zern and Kurt Van Orden are preparing for their first Valentine’s Day as a married couple — and as owners of a chocolate shop.
The couple were drawn to owning the shop for various reasons.
“This business is a creative outlet that provides jobs and a service to the community,” Zern said.
Zern and Van Orden bought the shop on Vancouver’s Main Street in October, and have rebranded it as Fleur Chocolatte & Wine.
“The quirkiness of this area is really unique. We want to keep that uniqueness and create something you’ve never seen before,” Zern said.
Not only are they stocking up on heart-shaped boxes to prepare for chocolate’s biggest holiday, they plan on taking the business to the next level by adding new flavors, holding weekend events and selling wine.
The business will shift from a coffee shop to a retail store that sells chocolates and other items like distressed trucker’s hats, T-shirts and quirky signs that can be combined into gift packages. The shop will continue to hand make chocolates and truffles, although it may eventually shift production off-site to make more space for patrons.
The couple acquired recipes from the company’s founder, Mike Sherlock. They plan on keeping popular flavors like salted caramel, brandy raspberry and blood orange while adding new combinations like honey thyme and lemongrass coconut to be rotated seasonally.
For Valentine’s Day, staff are rolling and dipping large batches of romance-inspired chocolates like wild cherry, almond coconut and caramel apple. Zern is also working on a white chocolate champagne raspberry chocolate.
Fleur will offer gift packs of truffles and alcoholic beverages, like a Bellini Cipriani and chocolate pack ($24). Truffles are $3 each. Assorted cookies and confections vary from $2-$4 apiece. Van Orden owns a packaging company and can create custom packaging for Valentine’s Day presents with some notice.
Zern and Van Orden plan to host events with a focus on offering unusual culinary experiences like pairing wine with flavored popcorn. Fleur will extend its hours later into the evening so people can stop by for coffee, wine and desserts being developed by Aurora Rowen, Fleur’s chocolatier, who is also a pastry chef.
In addition, the owners recently obtained a license to sell wine. They prefer bold red wine with a long lingering finish, like tempranillo and grenache, which pair well with chocolates. They plan on heading to Walla Walla to explore wineries and find more bottles for their curated collection, which is displayed in the shop as a wall of wine.