NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WIVB)–Mary Ann Hess’s 10-year dream came true with the “grand re-opening” of the Niagara Chocolate Company Thursday.
A salon owner by profession, Hess learned of the original Niagara Chocolate Company, which only operated from 1913 to 1915, because her grandmother worked there, dipping another hometown product, Triscuits, in a chocolate coating.
“We are the original Niagara Chocolate Company, from 1913-1915. We do have the original hand dipped Triscuits and we do hand dip the Triscuits.”
Mary Ann actually started making chocolate treats in the basement of her home 14 years ago, and eventually moved production to a kitchen next to her salon on Porter Road, while she formed Niagara’s Honeymoon Sweets LLC.
For 10 years Hess pursued the original chocolate company trademark, and now she is in full production.
Hess was joined in the celebration by a host of Niagara Falls and Niagara County elected officials and civic leaders, many of whom have helped her along the way.
State Senator Robert Ortt said businesses such as Hess’ need the help, “Owning a small business is hard anywhere. I think it is doubly hard sometimes in New York State. So any time we can come out and support a small business here in Niagara County, Western New York, and in New York state, as elected officials, I think it is incumbent upon us to do that.”
But the crowd-pleaser is the taste of these chocolate goodies, and Mary Ann said she owes it all to her customers.
“They love being taste testers. I will be cutting their hair and say what do you think of this, we made this yesterday? I learned all that from my customers.”