Edinboro Chocolaterie raises the 'bar'

Category:  News
Wednesday, February 26th, 2020 at 12:41 PM
Edinboro Chocolaterie raises the 'bar' by Nathan Brennan
Photo: Sydney Keefer

“We just love Edinboro.”

Simply put, this was the reasoning for Sally Steinheiser, owner of local Edinboro Chocolaterie, to open up her business at 114 Erie St.

“I think it is a beautiful little town,” she said. “I think it was probably kind of a natural process that we wanted something close to home.”

Home for Steinheiser is Albion, which is over 100 miles from where she owned her first chocolate shop.

Steinheiser got involved in the field when she and her husband bought Peter’s Chocolate Shoppe in Butler, started originally in 1938 by Peter and Mary Meliotis. And yes, she’d make the Albion-to-Butler drive daily.

She enjoyed the hands-on nature of the business. While she did greet customers occasionally, she enjoyed staying in the back and making the products. “My favorite thing to do is to make the chocolate, makes the caramels, make the fillings. That’s what I love to do,” she said.

While Steinheiser acknowledged that business was doing well in Butler, she said that the commute took its toll, both on her and her relationship with the Butler community.

“It was a job. I loved cooking and making stuff, but I could never get active in the community because I’d work and work and work, and then drive home at night,” she said. “It was impossible to have any kind of relationship other than a business relationship in Butler.”

“I love what I do, so I didn’t want to stop doing it, but I did want to stop driving 100 miles to work,” she said emphatically.

This led Steinheiser to sell Peter’s, make the move to Edinboro and open the Chocolaterie.

Located much, much closer to her home, Edinboro seems to be a nice fit for the owner. “I guess I don’t know what there isn’t to like. The people are extremely supportive [and] welcoming,” she said, taking a moment to pause. “I don’t even know how to describe it.”

“We have always been a part of the community,” Steinheiser added.

She mentioned that the other businesses in town, “the barbershops, the beauty salons, the banks,” spread the word of the Chocolaterie’s new products. “They’re always giving us ‘kudos’ to their own customers.” Partly because of this support, she said, “I think that the business is exceeding my expectations.”

Steinheiser is not alone in this new venture. Described as her equal in business, she is assisted by her daughter, Holly Palmer. She, too, finds the Edinboro area suitable for their product. “It’s really a nice family community… a great place to do business,” she said.

Chocolate wasn’t originally on the menu for Palmer.

She was on a different path at one point, with her own ties to Edinboro. Palmer was employed for a period of time as a nurse with the university while also teaching classes at the Fortis Institute in Erie.

When Palmer was suddenly laid off from her jobs due to budget cuts, she took the opportunity to work alongside her mother at the shop.

Now, she helps with the finances, the chocolates and most aspects of the business. She summed up her role, saying, “Whatever needs done, I do.”

Looking to the future of the business, Palmer sees potential. “I think we will definitely grow,” she said. “I am excited to see what the business is going to be like in 10 years.”

She also sees potential in partnerships with other local businesses, some of which have already taken place. Palmer and Steinheiser noted that they have, among other businesses, been able to sell their various chocolate products out of the Edinboro Market, with additional cooperation with PNC and Giant Eagle.

The Chocolaterie is currently exploring more partnerships with those in the area, and while Palmer could not name the businesses they have negotiated with, she assured that they are “definitely noteworthy.”

In addition, they hope to connect with another demographic prevalent in Edinboro: college students.

“We want to make sure that the college students know they’re welcome,” Palmer said.

While plans are still in the works, Palmer hopes to start a student discount day for Edinboro attendees to take advantage of. If the student brings their ID card, they would be able to get their chocolate products at a lower price.

While they are still new to the community, the chocolatiers of the Edinboro Chocolaterie see a bright future ahead of them.

Steinheiser concluded, “As long as we have great customer service [and] a great product at a good price, I can’t see us not doing well here because the people have been absolutely wonderful.”

Additional Photos:

Photo: Sydney KeeferPhoto: Nathan Brennan

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