After five years in business, Covered in Chocolate! is closing Friday.
Co-owner Jennifer L. McConnell is blaming insufficient downtown foot traffic and a need for more capital to build and advertise the dessert shop in the Franklin Building on Public Square.
For the first four years, Mrs. McConnell and her mother, Susan M. Tanner, ran Covered in Chocolate! in a rented kitchen in Theresa. When they moved into about 1,000 square feet of space in the Franklin Building last January, Mrs. McConnell said it was the perfect spot.
It was great, she said, noting she was going to miss her customers, many of whom made their purchases through the shops website.
The confectioners business offered such items as bonbons, sea salt almond cluster, chocolate-covered Oreos, candy apples, chocolate-dipped pretzels, party mixes and other delights.
On Thursday morning, members of the Watertown Local Development Corp.s loan committee said they were sorry after hearing the news at their meeting.
The sales were just not there, said Donald W. Rutherford, the WLDCs CEO.
To move to Watertown, the owners took out a loan with the WLDC, also known as the Watertown Trust. They still owe $15,000 to the trust, but Mr. Rutherford said he is confident it eventually will be paid.
This fall, the owners had thought about taking out a second loan from the agency to increase inventory, but then decided against doing that and figured it was better just to close, Mrs. McConnell said.
The trust markets the commercial space in the Franklin Building.
The WLDC board learned that a locksmith business also recently closed in the Franklin Building, but Americas Own thrift shop may move into that storefront.